The opinion of the court was delivered by: Eduardo C. Robreno, J.
Plaintiffs are the Delaware River Port Authority and its wholly owned
subsidiary, the Port Authority Transit Corporation (collectively, the
"DRPA"). Defendants are the Fraternal Order of Police, Penn-Jersey Lodge
#30, and the Policemen's Benevolent Association Intercounties Local #30
(collectively, "the Unions"). The DRPA is a creature of a compact (the
"Compact") entered into by the states of New Jersey and Pennsylvania and
approved by Congress, pursuant to the Compact Clause of the Constitution.
The purpose of the Compact is to create a single agency to develop the
ports of Philadelphia and Camden and to operate bridges and provide mass
transportation between New Jersey and Pennsylvania across the Delaware
River. The issue in this case is whether the DRPA is under a legal duty
to recognize and bargain collectively with the Unions as bargaining
agents for certain police officer supervisors employed by the DRPA.
The parties agree that, under the Compact as enacted, the DRPA has no
duty to recognize and bargain collectively with the Unions. The parties
further recognize that New Jersey and Pennsylvania may agree to impose
additional duties upon the DRPA, not assigned to the DRPA in the Compact
when enacted, including the duty to recognize and bargain collectively
with the exclusive bargaining agent of its police officers. Under the
Compact, such additional duties may be imposed upon the DRPA by one state
enacting legislation which is concurred in by the other state.
The Unions assert that since the Compact went into effect, New Jersey
and Pennsylvania have enacted parallel and complementary labor relations
statutes requiring public employers within their respective jurisdictions
to recognize and bargain collectively with police officers. Although the
Unions recognize that these public employees labor statutes do not
expressly apply to the DRPA, they argue that their enactment evinces an
intent on the part of both New Jersey and Pennsylvania to require the
DRPA, like other public employers in the two states, to recognize and
bargain collectively with the exclusive bargaining agent(s) chosen by
their employees. Therefore, the Unions argue that the enactment of these
public employees labor statutes satisfy the requirement under the Compact
that additional duties can be imposed on the DRPA by the enactment of
legislation by one state which is concurred in by the other state.
The DRPA, on the other hand, argues that additional duties may only be
imposed upon the DRPA by action of the legislatures of both New Jersey
and Pennsylvania making the legislation expressly applicable to the
DRPA. Since it is admitted that both legislatures have not so spoken, the
DRPA argues, it has no duty under the Compact as enacted to recognize and
bargain collectively with the Unions.
In this action, the DRPA seeks a declaratory judgment as to whether it
is required to recognize and bargain collectively with the Unions. Before
the court are the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment. The court
finds that because the legislatures of the two states which created the
DRPA, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, have not enacted legislation that
expressly imposes upon the DRPA the duty to recognize and bargain
collectively with the exclusive bargaining agent of its police officers,
the DRPA is not obligated to bargain with the Unions in this case.
Therefore, the DRPA's motion for
summary judgment will be granted, and the Unions' motion for summary
judgment will be denied.
Under the Compact Clause of the United States Constitution, see U.S.
Const. art. I, § 10, cl. 3,*fn1 states may enter into bilateral
agreements in matters of common concern provided that they obtain the
consent of Congress. The DRPA was created in 1931 by a compact between
the State of New Jersey and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania ("the
Compact"). The following year, Congress gave its consent to the Compact.
The DRPA's governing scheme is carefully constructed to ensure that
neither state can impose its will in DPRA affairs against the other
state's wishes. The Compact provides for a Board of Commissioners ("the
Board") to manage the DRPA's affairs. The Board consists of eight (8)
commissioners from each state for a total of sixteen (16) Commissioners.
See N.J. Stat. Ann. § 32:2-3; 36 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 3503
(art. II).*fn2 The authority of the Board to manage the affairs of the
DRPA is limited in three ways. First, a majority of each state's
delegation must approve the Board's action. See N.J. Stat. Ann. §
32:3-4; 36 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 3503 (art. III). Second, the
Compact gives each state the right to enact legislation that grants its
governor veto power over any DRPA action. N.J. Stat. Ann. §
32:3-4.2; 36 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 3503 (art. III).*fn3 Third, and
most importantly for the purposes of this case, each state's legislature
may grant the Board additional powers or impose additional duties by
passing legislation that is "concurred in by legislation of the other."
N.J. Stat. Ann. § 32:3-5; 36 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 3503 (art.
Article IV(e) of the Compact grants the commissioners the exclusive
right to "appoint, hire or employ . . . agents and employes [sic], as it
may require for the performance of its duties, by contract or otherwise,
and fix and determine their qualifications, duties and compensation."
N.J. Stat. Ann. § 32:3-5; 36 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 3503 (art.
IV(e)). Nevertheless, the Unions contend that the DRPA is required to
recognize and bargain collectively with certain of its superior police
officers ("superior officers")*fn4 in an appropriate bargaining unit.*fn5
By letters to the DRPA dated August 22, 1999 and September 14, 1999, see
Pls.' Mot. for Summ. J. Ex. 2-3, the Unions sought recognition from the
DRPA, on the basis that a majority of superior officers employed by the
DRPA had signed authorizations cards designating the respective Unions as
their exclusive bargaining agents.*fn6
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 ...