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DISTRICT NO. 1 v. WARD

January 6, 1981

DISTRICT NO. 1, PACIFIC COAST DISTRICT, M.E.B.A., and Gary A. Cramer et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
Robert W. WARD, Commissioner of the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities of the State of Alaska, et al., Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROTHSTEIN

ORDER ON PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

THIS CAUSE comes before the Court on plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment. After reviewing the Motion, memoranda, and other pleadings, and being fully advised, the Court rules as follows:

 Through its Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, the State of Alaska operates a commercial ferry system between ports in Alaska and the Western District of Washington (hereinafter "Alaska Marine Highway" or "Alaska ferry").

 The individual plaintiffs in this case are deck officers and/or pilots employed by the Alaska Marine Highway. There is no question but that they are properly licensed and otherwise qualified for their jobs. Plaintiff M.E.B.A. is a labor organization that acts as collective bargaining representative for "engineer officers" employed by the Alaska Marine Highway.

 Defendants are Alaska state officials charged with responsibility for enforcing Alaska Stat. 19.65.010, which reads as follows:

 
Duty station or port of change for employees of the Alaska Marine Highway System.
 
No employee of the Alaska Marine Highway System may be relieved at a duty station or port which is outside the State (of Alaska). Appropriate State duty stations or ports for relief changes shall be designated by the Department of Public Works.

 In this suit, plaintiffs challenge AS 19.65.010 under three sections of the federal Constitution: the Privileges and Immunities Clause; the Commerce Clause; and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Jurisdiction in this Court is provided by 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331(a) & 1343(3).

 This is an appropriate case for resolution by summary judgment. All parties agree that no question of material fact is genuinely in dispute.

 Operation of the Statute :

 The great majority of individually named plaintiffs reside in the State of Washington. The Alaska ferry has regular ports in both Alaska and Washington. Before the decision to enforce AS 19.65.010, plaintiffs were permitted to change duty stations in Seattle. The engineer officers typically alternated one or two weeks of work with corresponding periods of layoff. See Affidavit of Eugene E. Bulin, filed (in C78-607SR) October 12, 1978.

 Alaska Stat. 19.65.010 allows only Alaska residents to change shifts in their home state. It requires all employees who reside in Washington to transport themselves on their own time to an Alaska port each time they begin a work shift (and back to Washington when the shift ends). Defendants suggest that the State of Alaska might undertake to provide employees with such transportation (including meals) at no cost on the Alaska ferry. See Affidavit of Doug Burton, filed March 9, 1979. The one-way sailing, however, between Seattle and the nearest Alaska port (Ketchikan) takes some 40 hours. Therefore, Washington residents must either pay for air transportation to Alaska on every shift, or sacrifice a substantial part of their layoff time traveling to and from Alaska by ferry.

 Privileges and Immunities Clause :

 Article IV, section 2, clause 1 of the federal Constitution ...


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