It is not disputed that the Compact as enacted did not grant any DRPA
employees collective bargaining rights, nor did it impose any duty on the
part of the DRPA to bargain collectively with the Unions as exclusive
bargaining agents. The Unions contend, however, that, as a result of
post-Compact enactments by both the New Jersey and Pennsylvania
legislatures of statutes which provide collective bargaining right to
police officers, the Compact should be deemed to have been amended to
impose upon the DRPA the duty to recognize and bargain collectively with
its police officers.
The Unions point to New Jersey's Employer-Employee Relations Act, N.J.
Stat. Ann. 34:13A-1 et seq., and Act 111, Pa. Stat. Ann. tit. 43, §
217.1 et seq., and argue that because, since the enactment of the
Compact, both the New Jersey and Pennsylvania legislatures have granted
police officers the right to bargain collectively, each state legislature
has "concurred in" the legislation of the other within the meaning of
Article IV of the compact. Although neither statute expressly states that
it applies to the DRPA, the Unions contend that a statement of "express
intent" is not required under Article IV. Instead, the Unions read
Article IV merely to require that the states adopt legislation that
evidences substantially similar public policies, or, in the alternative,
legislation that is complementary or parallel such that it can be
considered substantially similar. The Unions argue that the New Jersey
and Pennsylvania public employee labor statutes providing for collective
bargaining rights for police officers not only evince substantially
similar policies but are in fact substantially similar.
The DRPA disagrees, maintaining that Article IV is only satisfied, and
the Compact thus amended, when each state enacts legislation that
expressly applies to the DRPA. In the alternative, it contends that the
statutes cited by the Unions are not complementary or parallel. The DRPA
essentially concedes, however, that the respective statutes do express
substantially similar public policies.
This case thus presents the question of whether a state "concurs in"
the legislation of the other state within the meaning of Article IV of
the Compact when both states adopt legislation that (1) expressly applies
to the DRPA (the "express intent standard"); or (2) evinces the adoption
of substantially similar public policies; and/or (3) is parallel or
complementary, meaning that the statutes are substantially similar on
their face (the "complementary or parallel standard").
A. Federal Law Is Controlling.
The consent of Congress to a compact between the states transforms the
agreement into federal law. See Cuyler v. Adams, 449 U.S. 433, 440 (1981)
("Because congressional consent transforms an interstate compact within
[the Compact Clause] into a law of the United States, . . . the
construction of an interstate agreement sanctioned by Congress under the
Compact Clause presents a federal question.") Accordingly,
the court's inquiry will be governed by federal law.*fn7
B. The Express Intent Standard is the Correct Standard to Use in
1. Principles of Statutory Construction Require that Article IV of
the Compact be Construed in Favor of the DRPA.
Article IV of the compact provides that the DRPA "shall also have such
additional powers as may hereafter be delegated to or imposed upon it
from time to time by the action of either State concurred in by
legislation of the other." N.J. Stat. Ann. 32:3-5; 36 Pa. Cons. Stat.
Ann. § 3503 (art. IV) (emphasis added). The court must determine
whether the "concurred in" requirement of Article IV is satisfied, as the
Unions contend, when the respective legislatures enact parallel or
complementary legislation or adopt substantially similar policies, or, as
the DRPA contends, only when the legislatures of the two states have
expressly stated that the legislation is intended to apply to the DRPA.