Request for Pay Raise Leads to Murder
Individuals Sued Under Alter Ego Can Compel Arbitration

Union Cannot Challenge Prevailing Wage Rates Without Exhausting Administrative Remedies

Between 2002 and 2004, Solano County Roofing, Inc., a roofing subcontractor, installed metal roofs on three public works of improvement in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties. The scope of work provisions posted on the DLSR (Division of Labor Statistics and Research) web site for the craft of roofer in these counties included specific references to metal roofing, based on language drawn from the collective bargaining agreements of the local roofers unions. None of the public entities specified prevailing wage rates other than those posted by the DLSR for the work performed by the subcontractor, whose scope of work posted by the DLSR for the craft of sheet metal worker included “all . . . metal work.” The subcontractor classified its workers installing sheet metal roofs as "roofers" on each of these projects and paid them the local prevailing wage for roofers, rather than sheet metal workers, whose prevailing wage rate was higher than that for roofers. Sheet Metal Workers International Association, Local Union No. 104 challenged the prevailing rate determinations on three projects, but did not do so within the 20-day period after the call for bids as specified under Labor Code § 1773.4. Instead, it requested rate of pay determinations for each of these three projects after the subcontractor had begun work. The DIR upheld the rates.

The union then filed an action for writ of mandate, administrative mandate and declaratory relief against acting DIR Director John Rea. The trial court sustained demurrers on all causes of action, finding that the union’s action was barred for several reasons, including its failure to exhaust its administrative remedies. The union appealed the subsequent judgment dismissing its petition.

On appeal, the trial court's decision was upheld. Prior to bringing such an action in Superior Court, the union must exhaust its administrative remedies within the times specified in the Labor Code. Sheet Metal Workers International Association, Local Union No. 104 v. Rea (2007) __ Cal.App.4th __.

By law, a petition seeking the DIR Director’s review of whether the prevailing rate specified for a public works contract was determined in accordance with section 1773 must be filed within 20 days after commencement of advertising of the call for bids by the awarding body. The union is an interested party permitted to raise such a challenge. However, if the 20-day period after the call for bids elapses without a request for review of a prevailing rate to be paid on the proposed contract, the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies bars any later civil action seeking to invalidate the subsequent contract on which those rates were paid.

The opinion, which includes a very good general description of the procedures and requirements under California's prevailing wage law, can be read here in pdf or word format.


Daniel Hernandez

need infp- don't know where to turn. what is the prevailing wage law regarding tree trimming and landscaping? I think my boss is not paying us correctly for the work we are doing at a local high shcool. thank you

Pavlos Salamasidis

I work for a non-union sign company in Northern California that is employed by a handful of contractors on a regular basis. We have been promised prevailing wage for the hours worked, but we have yet to receive them. My employer told us that prevailing wage pay will be given to us upon the contract's completion. Is this legitimate?

I am a non union metal locker installer in the sacramento area,the scope they pay me is carpenter (moudular furniture),and I dont think this is right.Nothing I do is free standing and made of a fabric material.Am I carpenter or sheet metal? Thanks Rick

answer my damn question 111Rick the non union locker installer


I am not an authority on this, but I am a business owner and have worked in the trades myself in my day. Try these government links for filing a complaint with the labor board. They will investigate it for you, or seek a labor law attorney in your area. Other useful links are on the

michael walsh

We do not give specific legal advice over the internet.


thanks for info,there is no scope for lockers? sheet metal or carpenters??? I will get a lawyer and get to the bottom of this!!!Locker guy

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