California Court of Appeals, First District, First Division
Alameda County Superior Court No. RG11610366, Hon. Steven A. Brick Trial Judge.
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
Davis, Cowell & Bowe, John J. Davis, Jr. Andrew J. Kahn Eric B. Myers Wohlner Kaplon Phillips Young & Cutler and Jeffrey L. Cutler. for Plaintiffs and Appellants.
Cook Brown, Ronald W. Brown Barbara A. Cotter Stephen R. McCutcheon, Jr. Law Office of James P. Watson and James P. Watson for Defendant and Respondent.
Weinberg, Roger & Rosenfeld, Barry E. Hinkle, Roberta D. Perkins and Conception E. Lozano-Batista for Amicus Curiae Northern California Laborers’ Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee on behalf of Defendant and Respondent.
Simpson, Garrity, Innes & Jacuzzi and Paul V. Simpson for Amicus Curiae United Contractors on behalf of Defendant and Respondent.
Lawrence H. Kay for Amicus Curiae Construction Employers Association on behalf of Defendant and Respondent.
Cox, Castle & Nicholson, John Stonewall Miller, Jr., and Dwayne P. McKenzie for Amicus Curiae Associated General Contractors on behalf of Defendant and Respondent.
This appeal arises out of a dispute over the meaning of certain provisions of the Prevailing Wage Law and Shelley-Maloney Apprentice Labor Standards Act of 1939 (Shelley-Malony Act) relating to the employment of apprentices on public works projects. Floyd Henson, Gabriel Maestretti, and Leonard Minor (appellants) assert that C. Overaa & Company (respondent) violated the statutes bye hiring construction craft laborer (laborer) apprentices instead of pipefitter apprentices to work on the construction of certain water treatment plants. Appellants are pipefitter apprentices, and they seek to represent a class of similarly situated individuals who lost wages and training as a result of respondent’s alleged violations. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of respondent on the ground the journeymen on the relevant projects were classified as laborers, and the Prevailing Wage Law merely required employers to hire apprentices who are in the same occupation as the journeymen on their projects. Appellants assert the trial court erred because the statutes require a contractor to select apprentices based not on their job title or union affiliation but the work processes on which they have been expressly approved to train. We find the argument unpersuasive and affirm.
A. Legal Background
The Prevailing Wage Law requires that contractors on public works projects pay their employees union wages. (§§ 1770, 1773.) Among other
things, the goals of the statute are “to protect employees from substandard wages that might be paid if contractors could recruit labor from distant cheap-labor areas; [and] to permit union contractors to compete with nonunion contractors.” (Lusardi Construction Co. v. Aubry (1992) 1 Cal.4th 976, 987 [4 Cal.Rptr.2d 837, 824 P.2d 643].) Prevailing wage rates are set by the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) and are predicated on applicable wage rates established by collective bargaining agreements within the locality and in the nearest labor market, among other factors. (§ 1773.) Where the rates are not prevailing in a locality, DIR must obtain and consider additional data from the labor organizations and employers or employer associations concerned. (Ibid.) Prevailing wage rate determinations generally list the scope of work and craft classifications to which the rates apply.
If the Prevailing Wage Law required contractors to pay all employees union wages, it would present a significant obstacle to the hiring and training of lesser-skilled apprentices. (SeeElectrical Joint Apprenticeship Com. v. MacDonald (9th Cir. 1991) 949 F.2d 270, 274.) “The basic idea of an apprenticeship program is to allow on-the-job training for apprentices who work under the supervision of journeymen and thus to encourage and assist persons to enter into the skilled work force.... In order for such an apprenticeship ...