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AZ Wins Secret-Ballot Case

AZ Wins Secret-Ballot Case

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Published by LaborUnionReport

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Published by: LaborUnionReport on Sep 06, 2012
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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTFOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONANational Labor Relations Board,Plaintiff,vs.State of Arizona,Defendant,andSave Our Secret Ballot; Joyce McClain;Jose Barraza; R. Scott Brooks, Jr.; SandraBrown; Dominic T. Drobeck; RafaelBarraza; Jamie Franklin; Ahelardo Garcia;Angelo Granata; Justin Helwig; JoseHernandez; Raul Hernandez; ReyesInzunza; Derek Kaiser; Enrique Lara, Jr.;Benny P. Martinez; Gabriel Mendez;Eleuterio Miguel; Chad A. Mullenax;Roger S. Myllenbeck; Adalberto PenaParra; Tyson Petrie; Jeff Phillips; ShawnRiegle; Daniel Rusch; David Santellano;Roy C. Smith; Kelvin L. Steffen; JohnnieTeller, III; Marco Teran; Steven R.Tulloss; Israel Vargas; Harvey Wietting;Raeleen Kasinec,Intervenor-Defendants.)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))CV 11-00913-PHX-FJM
The court has before it the intervenor-defendants' motion for certification (doc. 53),plaintiff's response (doc. 56), and the intervenor-defendants' reply (doc. 58). We also have
Case 2:11-cv-00913-FJM Document 65 Filed 09/05/12 Page 1 of 11
Article 2 of the Arizona Constitution is the "Declaration of Rights."
The NLRB alleged in its original complaint that Article 2 § 37 was also preemptedbecause it eliminated the possibility of voluntary recognition of a union (doc. 1). It amendedthe complaint to eliminate this argument after the State represented in earlier stages of thislitigation that Article 2 § 37 guarantees a secret ballot election when the voluntaryrecognition option is not selected (doc. 31).- 2 -before us the National Labor Relation Board's ("NLRB") motion for summary judgment("MSJ") (doc. 49) and separate statement of facts (doc. 50), an amicus brief from UnitedFood and Commercial Workers, Local 99 and Arizona AFL-CIO in support of the NLRB'sMSJ (doc. 57), the intervenor-defendants' response (doc. 60), the State of Arizona's ("theState") response (doc. 61), and the NLRB's reply (doc. 63). In addition, we have theintervenor-defendants' MSJ (doc. 51) and separate statement of facts (doc. 52), the State'sMSJ (doc. 54) and separate statement of facts (doc. 55), the NLRB's consolidated responseto both motions (doc. 59) and controverting statement of facts (doc. 59-1), the intervenor-defendants' reply (doc. 62), and the State's reply (doc. 64).
The facts are undisputed. The NLRB is the agency tasked with administration of theNational Labor Relations Act ("NLRA"). See 29 U.S.C. §§ 151, 153. On November 2,2010, a majority of Arizona voters approved adding Article 2 § 37 to the ArizonaConstitution.
It states that "[t]he right to vote by secret ballot for employee representationis fundamental and shall be guaranteed where local, state or federal law permits or requireselections, designations or authorizations for employee representation." Id. To date, Arizonacourts have not addressed Article 2 § 37.The NLRB asks for a declaration that Article 2 § 37, to the extent that it applies toemployers, private employees, and labor organizations subject to the NLRA, is preemptedbecause it creates a state forum to protect employee representation rights, a task whichCongress assigned exclusively to the NLRB.
The intervenor-defendants and the State eachcross-move for summary judgment.
Case 2:11-cv-00913-FJM Document 65 Filed 09/05/12 Page 2 of 11
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The Arizona Supreme Court may answer questions of Arizona law certified to it bya district court "which may be determinative of the cause then pending in the certifyingcourt," and for which there is no controlling state court precedent. A.R.S. § 12-1861. Underfederal law, it is "manifestly inappropriate to certify a question" if there is no uncertain statelaw question whose resolution may affect the federal claim. Stenberg v. Carhart, 530 U.S.914, 945, 120 S. Ct. 2597, 2617 (2000) (quoting Houston v. Hill, 482 U.S. 451, 471, 107 S.Ct. 2502, 2514 (1987)).The intervenor-defendants move to certify the following question to the ArizonaSupreme Court: "[d]oes Ariz. Const. Art. II, § 37 create a parallel state enforcementmechanism for protecting employee representation rights in addition to such enforcementmechanisms that may exist under the [NLRA], 29 U.S.C. § 151,
et seq.
?" Mot. forCertification at 1. The intervenor-defendants argue that the resolution of this question maybe outcome-determinative, as the NLRB's sole argument for preemption will evaporate if theArizona Supreme Court holds that Article 2 § 37 does not create a cause of action. Even if the court holds that it does, the intervenor-defendants argue that the court's articulation of thescope and nature of the cause of action will permit us to better assess the arguments raisedby the parties here.Although there is no state court precedent addressing whether Article 2 § 37 may beenforced in state courts, ample precedent in Arizona shows that litigants have broughtlawsuits to enforce state constitutional rights, including lawsuits to enforce Article 2 rights.See, e.g., Chavez v. Brewer, 222 Ariz. 309, 320, 214 P.3d 397, 408 (Ct. App. 2009) (plaintiff stated a claim for violation of Article 2 § 21, the right to a free and equal election); AidaRenta Trust v. Maricopa Cnty., 221 Ariz. 603, 607, 212 P.3d 941, 945 (Ct. App. 2009)(taxpayer sued county for violation of Article 9 § 1); Bailey v. Myers, 206 Ariz. 224, 230,76 P.3d 898, 904 (Ct. App. 2003) (property owners brought suit alleging violation of Article2 § 17); Mecham v. Gordon, 156 Ariz. 297, 303, 751 P.2d 957, 963 (1988) (governor facingimpeachment had rights under both the Federal Constitution and Article 2 of the Arizona
Case 2:11-cv-00913-FJM Document 65 Filed 09/05/12 Page 3 of 11

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