indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Indian Law Online Master Degree
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

Printer friendly version
Court rejects union claim against Native contract
MONDAY, JUNE 9, 2003

Congress can create special preferences for American Indian and Alaska Native-owned businesses without violating the U.S. Constitution, a federal appeals court ruled on Friday.

In a unanimous decision, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Native contracting provision in the 2000 Department of Defense appropriations act. Citing Supreme Court precedents dating back to the early 1900s, a three-judge panel said the law doesn't discriminate on the basis of race.

"The [Supreme] Court's decisions 'leave no doubt that federal legislation with respect to Indian tribes, although relating to Indians as such, is not based on impermissible racial classifications,'" wrote Judge A. Raymond Randolph, an appointee of former President George H. W. Bush.

Although the court was quick to point out that it decided the case on narrow grounds, the provision at issue has been included in appropriations acts before, and after, fiscal year 2000. It allows DoD to award contracts to firms with at least 51 percent Native ownership without going through a competitive bidding process that non-Native businesses are subjected to.

The preference policy is also part of a larger trend that has put large military-related projects in the hands of Native businesses. In December 2001, the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, a DOD agency, awarded a $2.2 billion, non-competitive contract to a joint venture of two Alaska Native corporations. It is considered the largest outsource to a Native-owned company.

Last Friday's decision revolved around a $170 million contract to Chugach Management Services, a joint venture of Chugach Alaska Corporation, a regional Alaska Native corporation, and Afognak Village Corporation, a village corporation. The Air Force awarded the contract, for maintenance work at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, pursuant to the 2000 act.

The American Federation of Government Employees, which is the largest labor union representing 600,000 federal employees, and other labor interests challenged the law as unconstitutional. "This statutory preference has led to tremendous abuse as multi-million dollar corporations -- technically 51 percent Native-American owned -- obtain sole source contracts without giving federal employees a chance to compete for their jobs," said AFGE President Bobby L. Harnage at the time of the May 2000 lawsuit.

In March 2002, U.S. District Judge Ricardo M. Urbina ruled in favor of the federal government and Chugach, which intervened as a defendant. The labor interests appealed to the D.C. Circuit, saying the law should be tested under a "strict scrutiny" analysis typically used in race-related cases. The appeals court rejected this reasoning, concluding that laws affecting American Indians and Alaska Natives should be reviewed under a "rational basis" analysis.

Chugach Alaska, owned by about 2,000 shareholders, emerged from bankruptcy three years ago. It has since been named one of the top 49 businesses in Alaska.

Last year, a Chugach subsidiary was awarded a $2.5 billion contract, to be shared with two partners, for public works, engineering, aviation and marine-support services at a missile testing facility in the South Pacific. The contract was secured competitively. In May, another Chugach firm won a $3.3 million non-military contract to take over maintenance and operations at Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, also in the Pacific.

Get the Decision:
Amer Fed Govt Empl vs. USA (June 6, 2003)

Lower Court Decision:
Amer Fed Govt Empl vs. USA (March 29, 2002)

Relevant Documents:
Kirtland Litigation Briefs and Other Information (AFGE)

Relevant Links:
Chugach Alaska - http://www.chugach-ak.com
American Federation of Government Employees - http://www.afge.org/Index.cfm

Related Stories:
Native corp close to $2.5B contract (09/09)
Alaska Native deal criticized (6/14)
Native Corp. survives bankruptcy (5/30)

Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Wrapup from National Congress of American Indians DC meeting (2/27)
Native Sun News: Rapid City leader calls for tax on alcohol sales (2/27)
Mark Trahant: Beautiful trend emerges with power of Native vote (2/27)
Ivan Star: Lakota traditional history tells the true untold stories (2/27)
Audio: House Appropriations Committee hearing on BIA budget (2/27)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee to hold hearing on irrigation bill (2/27)
National Indian Gaming Commission choice gets another hearing (2/27)
Kevin Abourezk: Omaha language advocate passes on at age 58 (2/27)
Gyasi Ross: Yawna Allen shares her Native and African ancestry (2/27)
Frank Hopper: Alaska Native Brotherhood was about resistance (2/27)
Stanley Heller: Don't forget the Sand Creek Massacre in Colorado (2/27)
Cherokee Nation chief faces at least four challengers in election (2/27)
BIA and DOJ seek to mediate Cayuga Nation leadership dispute (2/27)
Non-Indians guilty for hunting incidents on Montana reservation (2/27)
Man from Te-Moak Tribe pleads guilty to voluntary manslaughter (2/27)
Administrator for Alaska tribe cuts her position out of the budget (2/27)
Opinion: Find common ground on Indian mascots in Connecticut (2/27)
Hannahville Indian Community starts $8M casino expansion work (2/27)
Wilton Rancheria still waiting for BIA movement on casino project (2/27)
Lytton Band paid $4.6M to use land as parking for Class II facility (2/27)
Opinion: Menominee Nation might turn to tokers instead of poker (2/27)
Opinion: Poarch Creeks come with slot machines and marijuana (2/27)
Updates from National Congress of American Indians meet in DC (2/26)
Native Sun News: Rosebud Sioux Tribe leader sidelined by council (2/26)
James Giago Davies: Native activism must embrace all relations (2/26)
Donna Ennis: Obama budget supports tribal self-determination (2/26)
Rich Winter: Let's keep Lakota Nation Invitational in Rapid City (2/26)
Oglala Sioux Tribe wants Lakota Nation Invitational out of Rapid (2/26)
Former Sisseton Wahpeton chairman joins marijuana company (2/26)
Hoopa Valley Tribe places marijuana referendum on April ballot (2/26)
Blog: Firm saves billions by exploiting Native 'loophole' at FCC (2/26)
Klamath Tribes aid investigation into stolen artifacts in Oregon (2/26)
Alaska Native community still waiting on funding for relocation (2/26)
Alaska Native lawmaker in hospital after emergency at capitol (2/26)
Elise Patkotak: Alaska must acknowledge high rate of violence (2/26)
Mishewal Wappo Tribe waits for decision in recognition lawsuit (2/26)
Muscogee Nation seeks 5000 workers for big casino expansion (2/26)
Little River Band expects wait for $180M off-reservation casino (2/26)
Northern Arapaho Tribe plans to open casino food court in May (2/26)
Cherokee Nation promotes citizen to manager of $80M casino (2/26)
Tribes share nearly $16M in casino revenues with New Mexico (2/26)
Connecticut tribes face threat from casinos in Massachusetts (2/26)
Updates from National Congress of American Indians meeting (2/25)
Native Sun News: Artist Del Iron Cloud wins top award at show (2/25)
Witness List: Senate Indian Affairs Committee budget hearing (2/25)
Steve Russell: Cherokees learned discrimination from colonists (2/25)
Mary Pember: Tlingit masks appraised on 'Antiques Roadshow' (2/25)
Julianne Jennings: Keep talking about race in American history (2/25)
Bill to create day to honor late Elouise Cobell stalls in Montana (2/25)
Washington tribes head to trial in dispute over fishing grounds (2/25)
Mobile dental clinic takes service to Navajo Nation communities (2/25)
Shingle Springs Band gun range draws questions from neighbors (2/25)
NCPR: St. Regis Mohawk Tribe continues land claim negotiations (2/25)
Opinion: Oklahoma attempts to rewrite role of Whites in history (2/25)
more headlines...

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.