Home > News > More Headlines > Court denies tribal exemption from labor laws
Printer friendly version
Court denies tribal exemption from labor laws
FRIDAY, JANUARY 17, 2003

A federal appeals court on Thursday cleared the way for a California tribe's health organization to be subpoenaed for resisting the presence of a labor union.

In a unanimous decision, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a set of subpoenas from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), an independent federal agency charged with enforcing labor laws. A three-judge panel said the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) applies to tribal governments even if they aren't specifically mentioned.

"In these circumstances, applying the NLRA does not clearly appear to touch on purely intramural matters that affect the right to [tribal] self-governance," wrote Pamela Ann Rymer for the majority.

The court cautioned that it wasn't ruling that the subpoenas themselves were valid. "We are in no way resolving the issue of the board's jurisdiction," Rymer wrote.

But the court ignored arguments set forth by the Rumsey Indian Rancheria, whose Chapa-De Indian Health Program was ordered by the NLRB to surrender tribal documents and allow its senior management to testify. The tribe pointed to a recent decision in which San Juan Pueblo of New Mexico won a sovereignty challenge to the NLRA.

In that case, the Pueblo's right to work law was upheld by a divided 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. By a 9-1 majority, the court said the ordinance, which prevents forced unionism, was an exercise of self-governance.

"Like states and territories, the Pueblo has a strong interest as a sovereign in regulating economic activity involving its own members within its own territory," wrote Chief Judge Deanell R. Tacha in that case, "and it therefore may enact laws governing such activity."

In rejecting the rancheria's position, the 9th Circuit yesterday drew a distinction. "Pueblo of San Juan is not persuasive because the court there expressly noted that the 'general applicability of federal labor law is not at issue,'" the decision stated.

The 9th Circuit also said the subpoenas don't infringe on tribal sovereignty because most of the Chupa-De's staff and management is non-Indian. The court pointed out that nearly half of the patients are non-Indian.

The case returns to the NLRB, which has to examine whether it indeed has jurisdiction over Chupa-De, whose medical support staff wants to organize with Teamsters Local 228. Some employees allege they were fired for that effort. The appeals court could have pre-empted that analysis had it sided with Chupa-De.

With three clinics in Yolo County, Chapa-De serves nearly 6,000 Indian patients. In addition to the Rumsey Rancheria, the service area includes the United Auburn Community.

Get the Decision:
NAT'L LABOR RELATIONS BD. v. CHAPA DE INDIAN HEALTH PROGRAM, INC., No. 02-15576 (9th Cir. January 16, 2003)

Relevant Links:
Chapa-De Indian Health Program - http://www.dcn.davis.ca.us/YoloLINK/
programs/pChapaDeIndian-3066.html

National Labor Relations Board - http://www.nlrb.gov
National Right to Work Foundation - http://www.nrtw.org
Teamsters Local 228 - http://teamsterslocal228.com
NCAI resolution on labor - http://130.94.214.68/data/docs/resolution/
2001_winter_session/ECWS001_05.htm

Related Stories:
Tribal labor bill draws complaints (04/18)
Pueblo wins sovereignty case (1/14)

Copyright © Indianz.Com

Stay Connected

On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud

More Headlines

Obama seeks another increase for Indian Health Service budget (2/10)
Six of 12 Indian Health Service area directors in 'acting' capacity (2/10)
Lakota Country Times: Indian lawmakers oppose drug testing bill (2/10)
Vince Two Eagles: The rez of the story about treaty-making in US (2/10)
Kristi Noem: Indian Health Service remains in state of emergency (2/10)
Chase Iron Eyes: Real sovereigns don't disenroll their own people (2/10)
Gyasi Ross: African and Native Americans fought for their survival (2/10)
Albert Bender: Tribes should reclaim land from unratified treaties (2/10)
John Lavelle: Supreme Court weighs key tribal sovereignty issue (2/10)
Women take top three leadership positions at Menominee Nation (2/10)
Northern Arapaho Tribe seeking to repatriate remains of students (2/10)
White Mountain Apache Tribe considers change to blood quantum (2/10)
Blackfeet Nation citizens still talking about constitutional reforms (2/10)
Sweat lodge at Army post helps with PTSD treatment for veterans (2/10)
Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes welcome return of land (2/10)
Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders win big in New Hampshire vote (2/10)
Prairie Island Indian Community unveils $19M gaming expansion (2/10)
Keweenaw Bay Indian Community approves upgrades at casinos (2/10)
Seminole Tribe's gaming compact takes a step forward in Florida (2/10)
Schaghticoke Tribal Nation insists on pursuing Connecticut casino (2/10)
National campaign launched to stop tribal disenrollment epidemic (2/9)
President Obama seeks $2.9B budget for Bureau of Indian Affairs (2/9)
Office of Special Trustee budget request remains steady at $140M (2/9)
Bureau of Reclamation emphasizes tribal water rights settlements (2/9)
Lakota Country Times: Indian health at center of Medicaid debate (2/9)
Mark Trahant: Native candidates fall behind in the big money wars (2/9)
Vi Waln: Arrogance keeps Keystone XL plans alive in South Dakota (2/9)
Charles Kader: Haudenosaunee territory will always be Indian land (2/9)
Mike Myers: Indigenous teachings still guide our ways of life today (2/9)
Albuquerque Indian Center faces closure without additional money (2/9)
Leader of Bois Forte Band promises fight against substance abuse (2/9)
Coushatta Tribe wins ruling in long-running dispute with contractor (2/9)
Pamunkey Tribe looks to a stronger future with federal recognition (2/9)
Isle de Jean Charles Band to relocate with help of $48M HUD grant (2/9)
Nambe Pueblo hopes small casino stands out in a crowded market (2/9)
St. Regis Mohawk Tribe sends fewer gaming funds to communities (2/9)
Tribes in Connecticut still working on process for potential casino (2/9)
Girls basketball team proudly wears Navajo hairstyle during game (2/8)
National Indian Gaming Commission slated to get a third member (2/8)
Senate committee to host roundtable on Tribal Law and Order Act (2/8)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee postpones field hearing into EPA (2/8)
Senate designates National Tribal Colleges and Universities Week (2/8)
Bill John Baker: Cherokee Nation invests in our people's wellbeing (2/8)
Kevin Washburn: Republicans punish tribe in public lands measure (2/8)
Harold Monteau: Democrats stack the deck for only one candidate (2/8)
Cutcha Risling Baldy: Don't let Leonard Peltier die in prison system (2/8)
more headlines...

Advertisement

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.