United States District Court, D. Idaho
INTERNATIONAL UNION OF OPERATING ENGINEERS LOCAL 370, Plaintiff,
LAWRENCE G. WASDEN, in his official capacity as Attorney General for the State of Idaho, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
J. Lodge United States District Judge
before the Court is Defendant State Attorney General Lawrence
Wasden's Motion to Dismiss First Amended Complaint (Dkt.
16.) The parties have submitted their briefing on the motion
and the matter is now ripe for the Court's review. Having
fully reviewed the record herein, the Court finds the facts
and legal arguments are adequately presented in the briefs
and record. Accordingly, in the interest of avoiding further
delay, and because the Court conclusively finds the
decisional process would not significantly aided by oral
argument, the pending motion will be decided on the record
and without oral argument.
the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 370
(“Local 370” or “Union”), is a labor
organization that represents workers in Idaho, including
approximately 400 workers at MotivePower, a locomotive
manufacturer in Boise, Idaho. (Dkt. 14.) Local 370 has a duty
to represent all workers in a bargaining unit, even those who
are not Union members. Although Local 370's
representational work benefits all bargaining unit employees,
it is paid for entirely by those workers who choose to be
Union members. The Union members-who make up approximately 32
percent of the MotivePower bargaining unit-pay monthly dues
of 2.5 times their hourly wage, while nonmembers-the other 68
attempt to resolve this issue, Local 370 negotiated with
MotivePower to enter into a Fair Representation Fee
Agreement, which would require all bargaining unit employees
to pay a service fee to cover a portion of the cost of the
Union's representation. Local 370 proposed a service fee
of less than 50 percent of Union dues. MotivePower rejected
Local 370's proposal on the grounds that the proposed
agreement violated Idaho's right to work law, Idaho Code
aforementioned provision of Idaho's right to work law
prohibits any person from being “required, as a
condition of employment or continuation of employment,
… to pay any dues, fees, assessments, or other charges
of any kind or amount to a labor organization.”
Id. Local 370 believes Idaho Code § 44-2003(3)
is preempted by the National Labor Relations Act
(“NLRA”), 29 U.S.C. §§ 151 to 169.
Local 370 also contends the Idaho law's prohibition
constitutes an unconstitutional taking without just
compensation in violation of the Fifth Amendment to the
United States Constitution.
October 22, 2015, Local 370 filed this action against the
Attorney General for the State of Idaho, Lawrence Wasden
(hereinafter “Defendant”), to invalidate the
Idaho law. (Dkt. 1) (seeking a declaration that §
44-2003(3) is preempted by the NLRA and is unconstitutional).
Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's initial
Complaint on November 17, 2015 (Dkt. 11). Prior to
responding, Plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint
(“FAC”) on December 14, 2015 (Dkt. 14). Defendant
then filed an amended Motion to Dismiss the FAC on December
17, 2015 (Dkt. 16). Defendant's Motion to Dismiss FAC was
fully briefed by February 26, 2016. (Dkt. 26.)
370 filed a Notice of Supplemental Authority (Dkt. 27) on
April 11, 2016, to which Defendant responded (Dkt. 28.) Upon
obtaining this Court's permission, the National Right to
Work Legal Defense and Education Foundation, Inc. thereafter
filed an amicus brief in support of Defendant's amended
Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. 40). Finally, Defendant filed a
Second Notice of Supplemental Authority (Dkt. 41) on October
4, 2016, to which Local 370 responded (Dkt. 42) on October 5,
2016. Having considered the briefing by the parties and
amici, the Court will grant Defendant's Motion to Dismiss
seeks to dismiss Local 370's FAC under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) and Rule 12(b)(1). A motion to
dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency of
the claims alleged in the complaint. Ileto v. Glock,
Inc., 349 F.3d 1191, 1199-1200 (9th Cir.2003). All
allegations of material fact are taken as true, and must be
construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.
Id. at 1200 (citation omitted). However, legally
conclusory statements, not supported by actual factual
allegations, need not be accepted. Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). A plaintiff's
obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to
relief “requires more than labels and conclusions, and
a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action
will not do.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (citations and quotations omitted).
Rather, the allegations in the complaint “must be
enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level.” Id. Review is generally limited to the
contents of the complaint and documents attached thereto.
Allarcom Pay Television. Ltd. v. Gen. Instrument
Corp., 69 F.3d 381, 385 (9th Cir.1995). However, the
court also may consider a matter that is properly the subject
of judicial notice without converting a motion to dismiss
into one for summary judgment. Lee v. Los Angeles,
250 F.3d 668, 688-89 (9th Cir.2001).
challenge to subject matter jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(1)
“can be either facial, confining the inquiry to
allegations in the complaint, or factual, permitting the
court to look beyond the complaint.” Savage v.
Glendale Union High School, 343 F.3d 1036, 1039-40 n. 2
(9th Cir.2003); see also White v. Lee, 227 F.3d
1214, 1242 (9th Cir. 2000). In a facial attack on the
court's subject matter jurisdiction, the defendant
challenges the sufficiency of the allegations of subject
matter jurisdiction in the complaint. Love v. United
States, 915 F.2d 1242, 1245 (9th Cir. 1989). The
standard of review is akin to the Rule 12(b)(6) standard.
That is, all allegations of the complaint are taken as true
and all disputed issues of fact are resolved in favor of the
plaintiff. Id. In a factual challenge under Rule
12(b)(1), “the district court is not restricted to the
face of the pleadings, but may review any evidence, such as
affidavits and testimony, to resolve factual disputes
concerning the existence of jurisdiction.” McCarthy
v. United States, 850 F.2d 558, 560 (9th Cir.1988);
see also Safe Air for Everyone v. Meyer, 373 F.3d
1035, 1039 (9th Cir.2004) (court may review evidence beyond
complaint without converting Rule 12(b)(1) motion into one
for summary judgment). Where, as here, a factual challenge is
raised, the court may resolve disputed issues of fact if they
do not depend upon resolution of factual issues going to the
merits. Leite v. Crane Co., 749 F.3d 1117, 1121-22
(9th Cir. 2014.)
moves to dismiss the FAC on three grounds: (1) that the Court
lacks subject matter jurisdiction over Local 370's
claims; (2) that Local 370's preemption and takings
claims are barred by the applicable statute of limitations;
and (3) that both claims fail to state a basis upon which
relief may be granted. The Court must address the
jurisdictional issue before it considers the merits of the
case. Steel Company v. Citizens for a Better
Environment, 523 U.S. 83, 94-95 (1998) (“The
requirement that jurisdiction be established as a threshold
matter… is inflexible and without exception.”)
(internal citation and quotation marks omitted). Before doing
so, however, a brief review of the legislation in question is
The National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 151 et.
National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) was enacted
by Congress in 1935. Pub.L. 74-189, 49 Stat. 449 (1935).
Broadly, the NLRA (also known as the Wagner Act) set forth a
national labor policy and created the National Labor
Relations Board (“NLRB”) to implement it.
Michigan v. State AFL-CIO v. Callaghan, 15 F.Supp.3d
712, 715 (E.D. Mich. 2014) (citing N.L.R.B. v. Jones
& Laughlin Steel Corp., 301 U.S. 1, 22-24 (1937)).
The NLRA said little about the respective role of the state
and federal governments in regulating labor practices.
Bethlehem Steel Co. v. New York State Labor Relations
Bd., 330 U.S. 767, 771 (1947) (“Congress has not
seen fit to lay down even the most general of guides to the
construction of [the NLRA], as it sometimes does, by saying
that its regulation either shall or shall not exclude state
World War II, “there was a feeling by some in Congress
that the pendulum had swung too far in the direction of
unionization. In particular, closed-shop agreements, under
which an employer agreed to hire union members only, were
thought by some members of Congress to be a powerful tool
that union leaders were abusing.” Sweeney v.
Pence, 767 F.3d 654, 681 (7th Cir. 2014) (Wood, J.,
dissenting.) In response, Congress amended the NLRA with the
Taft-Hartley Act. Pub. L. 80-101, 61 Stat. 136 (1947). The
amendments outlawed the closed-shop. N.L.R.B. v. Local
Union No. 55, 218 F.2d 226, 232 (10th Cir. 1954)
(recognizing amendments made closed-shop agreements illegal).
Taft-Hartley Act did not, however, outlaw the “union
shop, ” or a workplace where the employer is free to
hire anyone, but can require new employees to join the union
after they are hired. International Union of the Plumbing
and Pipefitting Indus. v. N.L.R.B., 675 F.2d 1257,
1267-68 (D.C. Cir. 1982) (Mikva, J. dissenting). Instead,
“Congress added provisions making it more difficult for
workers to obtain a union shop, but retained the union shop
as a mandatory subject of bargaining in section 8(a).”
Id. at 1272. In relevant part, Section 8(a)(3) of
the NLRA now provides:
shall be an unfair labor practice for an employer… by
discrimination in regard to hire or tenure of employment or
any term or condition of employment to encourage or
discourage membership in any labor
organization… [p]rovided, [t]hat nothing in this
subchapter… shall preclude an employer from making an
agreement with a labor organization… to require as a
condition of employment membership
therein…[.] 29 U.S.C. § 158(a)(3) (emphasis
added). Congress also clarified the role of state and federal
officials in regulating labor practices by adding Section
14(b) to the NLRA. Section 14(b) provides:
Nothing in this subchapter shall be construed as authorizing
the execution or application of agreements requiring
membership in a labor organization as a condition of
employment in any State or Territory in which such execution
or application is prohibited by State or Territorial law.
29 U.S.C. § 164(b) (emphasis added).
Section 14(b), states are free to pass laws prohibiting
employers from requiring “membership” in a labor
organization as a condition of employment. Local 370 argues
Idaho Code § 44-2003(3) goes much further than Section
14(b) permits by prohibiting mandatory “fees …
of any kind or amount.” (Dkt. 21, p. 14). Local 370
contends Idaho law “thus prohibits an agreement that
requires all workers simply to pay for representation of
their own bargaining unit (and not for any political,
institutional, or non-representational
expenses).” (Id.) Defendant counters the
Supreme Court has determined union “membership”
is synonymous with paying a portion of the dues connected to
a union's collective bargaining. (Dkt. 16-1, p. 15).
Thus, Defendant suggests Idaho's right to work law is
explicitly authorized under Section 14(b). The Court will
address such arguments after first ensuring it has subject
matter jurisdiction over this dispute.
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
It is a
“fundamental principle that federal courts are courts
of limited jurisdiction.” Owen Equip. &
Erection Co. v. Kroger, 437 U.S. 365, 374 (1978). A
federal court is presumed to lack jurisdiction unless the
contrary affirmatively appears. California ex rel.
Younger v. Andrus, 608 F.2d 1247, 1249 (9th Cir. 1979).
The plaintiff bears the burden of establishing the existence
of subject matter jurisdiction. Thornhill Pu. Co., Inc.
v. Gen. Tel. & Elec., Corp., 594 F.2d 730, 733 (9th
Cir. 1979). Defendant contends subject matter jurisdiction is
lacking in this case because Local 370 lacks standing and
because the NLRB has primary jurisdiction over the
Union's preemption claim.