The opinion of the court was delivered by: SPORKIN
On August 4, 1997, defendants submitted to the Court four letters issued to plaintiffs on July 24, 1997, explaining how the BAT considered the interest of the apprentices and the public in reaching its decision. The record is now complete as to the BAT's basis for its decision. The issues in this case have been fully briefed and no further pleadings from the parties or Amicus Curiae are warranted. Accordingly, the Court will render its decision based on the entire record herein and the law applicable thereto.
The United States Department of Labor (DOL) runs an apprenticeship program under the National Apprenticeship Act, which authorizes and directs the Secretary of Labor to
formulate and promote the furtherance of labor standards necessary to safeguard the welfare of apprentices,
to extend the application of such standards by encouraging the inclusion thereof in contracts of apprenticeship, to bring together employers and labor for the formation of programs of apprenticeship, to cooperate with State agencies engaged in the formulation and promotion of standards of apprenticeship . . . .
29 U.S.C. § 50. Accordingly, the Secretary has promulgated implementing regulations covering, inter alia, the registration, cancellation, and deregistration of apprenticeship programs through the BAT and the DOL. See 29 C.F.R. Part 29.
In 23 states, apprenticeship programs are registered and monitored through the BAT. In the remaining states and the District of Columbia, the BAT has delegated its authority to register and monitor apprenticeship programs to a recognized State Apprenticeship Agency or Council ("SAC"). To register a program with either the BAT or a SAC ("registration agency"), a sponsor
may designate an "apprenticeship committee," to administer the program. 29 C.F.R. § 29.2(i). A committee may be "joint," i.e., composed of an equal number of representatives of the employer(s) and of the employees represented by a bona fide collective bargaining agent(s). A committee also may be "unilateral" or "non-joint," i.e., a program sponsor in which a bona fide collective bargaining agent is not a participant. 29 C.F.R. § 29.2(i).
Regardless of who administers an apprenticeship program, it must conform to regulatory standards. 29 C.F.R. § 29.5. And, any modification or change to a registered program first must be submitted to an appropriate registration agency for approval. 29 C.F.R. § 29.3(g).
The DOL has implemented regulations pursuant to the Davis-Bacon Act, 40 U.S.C. § 276a - 276a-5 (1994), which affect the wages of apprentices. 29 C.F.R. § 1, 5, 541 (1995). These regulations allow an employer to pay an apprentice a wage below the prevailing wage "when they are employed pursuant to and individually registered in a bona fide apprenticeship program registered with [the BAT] or with a [SAC] recognized by the Bureau. . . ." 29 C.F.R. § 5.5(a)(4).
Grinnell informed the DOL that it wished to provide apprenticeship training under the NAA for its striker replacement employees. Pls' Mem. for Prelim. Inj. at Exh. C. By letter dated May 30, 1996, as amended on June 10, 1996, and in accordance with the decision in Associated Builders & Contractors v. Reich, 922 F. Supp. 676, 682 (D.D.C. 1996), the BAT issued an ad hoc decision, deferring further consideration of Grinnell's requests until the National Labor Relations Board determined, in the context of its unfair labor practice proceeding, whether Grinnell had bargained to impasse with Local No. 669.
In making its ad hoc decision, the BAT based its decision on its interpretation of 29 C.F.R. Part 29.3(h). That regulation provides
(h) Under a program proposed for registration by an employer or employers' association, where the standards, collective bargaining agreement or other instrument, provides for participation by a union in any manner in the operation of the substantive matters of the apprenticeship program, and such participation is exercised, written acknowledgment of union agreement or "no objection" to the registration is required. Where no such participation is evidenced and practiced, the employer or employers' association shall simultaneously furnish to the union, if any, which is the collective bargaining agent of the employees to be trained, a copy of its application for registration and of the apprenticeship program. The registration agency shall provide a reasonable time period of not less than 30 days nor more than 60 days for receipt or union comments, if any, before final action on the application for registration and/or approval.
The plaintiffs allege that the BAT's ad hoc decision violates the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. § 701, the National Apprenticeship Act (NAA), 29 U.S.C. § 50, the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), 29 U.S.C. § 158, and the Davis-Bacon Act (DBA), 40 U.S.C. § 276a. The plaintiffs seek to enjoin the BAT from enforcing its ad hoc decision ...