indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
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:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: EPA hears Native views about uranium mining (5/27)
Renae Yellowhorse: Navajo Nation can't cede power to outsiders (5/27)
Donna Loring: Politicians circle the wagons around Maine tribes (5/27)
David Treuer: Andrew Jackson turned on Cherokee Nation allies (5/27)
NCAI responds to criticism from Rep. Young on land-into-trust (5/27)
Lawsuit challenges constitutionality of Indian Child Welfare Act (5/27)
Hopi Tribe seeks to prevent auction of sacred property in France (5/27)
Indian students face harsh punishment at public schools in Utah (5/27)
Menominee Nation school sees dramatic rise in graduation rate (5/27)
Poarch Creeks planning family-friendly entertainment at project (5/27)
Coquille Tribe names executive at economic development entity (5/27)
Cherokee law students eager for summer work on Indian issues (5/27)
USDA sends $125K to Indian economic development corporation (5/27)
County by Pine Ridge Reservation receives justice service grant (5/27)
Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick to challenge Sen. John McCain in 2016 race (5/27)
Law Article: Indian inmate wins religious rights suit in Wisconsin (5/27)
Alaska Native corporation holds election for five seats on board (5/27)
Blood Tribe combats rise in abuse of extremely dangerous drug (5/27)
First Nations housing program brings just 99 homes to reserves (5/27)
Supreme Court won't hear challenge to Graton Rancheria casino (5/27)
Kialegee Tribal Town given extension to respond in gaming case (5/27)
Quapaw Tribe looks to dispel concerns about casino in Arkansas (5/27)
Pokagon Band faces hurdles in plan to develop casino in Indiana (5/27)
California tribes still divided over efforts to legalize online poker (5/27)
Native Sun News: Northern Cheyenne Tribe tackles school truancy (5/26)
Mark Trahant: Native village secures return of ancestral territory (5/26)
Secretary Jewell leads delegation to Indian school in Oklahoma (5/26)
Updated witness list for SCIA hearing on economic development (5/26)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee schedules meeting and hearing (5/26)
Mary Ann Andreas: Candidates must keep informed about tribes (5/26)
Steve Russell: National sovereignty cannot cloak all evil conduct (5/26)
Gabriel Galanda: The tide is turning against tribal disenrollments (5/26)
Vince Two Eagles: Summertime means powwows and Sundances (5/26)
Boyd Cothran: America moves from Civil War to the Indian Wars (5/26)
Vivian Delgado: Native college graduates mark a rite of passage (5/26)
Blackfeet Nation adds 162 names to Montana veterans memorial (5/26)
Native women compete in first Miss Indigenous Ecuador contest (5/26)
Lower Brule Sioux Tribe asks BIA to inspect financial documents (5/26)
Maine tribes hold rally after withdrawing from state Legislature (5/26)
Chemehuevi Tribe to reopen elementary school on reservation (5/26)
Arguments heard in lawsuit over federal judge's racist e-mails (5/26)
Appropriations bill allows VA hospitals to recommend marijuana (5/26)
Editorial: Navajo Nation leader makes right call on Grand Canyon (5/26)
Opinion: Andrew Jackson led horrifying campaigns against tribes (5/26)
Cayuga Nation Leaders: Tribe hasn't authorized gaming facilities (5/26)
Pair last seen at San Pasqual casino found on nearby reservation (5/26)
Chukchansi Tribe remains in talks with NIGC for casino reopening (5/26)
Pala Band finishes $5.7M casino renovation in just a few months (5/26)
Leader of Sandia Pueblo accused of preventing arrest at casino (5/26)
Tim Giago: Boot camp etched forever into the minds of veterans (5/25)
Native Sun News: Newspaper comes home with 14 media awards (5/25)
Gyasi Ross: Martin Sensmeier lands role in major Hollywood film (5/25)
Andre Cramblit: Let's see some real Indian actors on the screen (5/25)
Steven Newcomb: U.S. perpetuates dominance over our nations (5/25)
Valerie Goodness: Don't ignore indigenous ecological knowledge (5/25)
Peter d'Errico: Lawmakers kill bill for indigenous rights in Canada (5/25)
Matthew Scraper: ICWA opponents wrong to cite blood quantum (5/25)
Judge at center of ICWA lawsuit in South Dakota stripped of title (5/25)
Native Sun News: Northern Cheyenne student receives top honor (5/22)
Lakota Country Times: Newspaper takes home a slew of awards (5/22)
James Davies: The new tactic is to pretend racism doesn't exist (5/22)
Thomas O'Rourke: Yurok Tribe is a leader in forest restoration (5/22)
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.