Law firm Dykema says it has represented the Associated General Contractors of America (AGCA), San Diego Chapter and AGCA Apprenticeship Program Trust in securing a preliminary injunction in the Superior Court of California, San Diego County, precluding the city from applying conditions disallowed by a San Diego ordinance.
In a statement, the national law firm said the City of San Diego sought contract proposals to build its $400 million North City Pure Water Facility.
Dykema filed for a preliminary injunction on behalf of the AGC, who sought to have its member contractors and its state-certified apprentices be given the same opportunity as union contractors and union apprentices to participate in this large city project. Under state law, all state-approved apprentice programs are equal in satisfying the need for having a skilled and trained workforce on publicly-funded projects.
The court ruled that the City of San Diego violated its own Fair and Open Competition Ordinance, which bans the city from discriminating in favor of union contractors and union apprentices on city construction projects.
The city’s Request for Proposals for the North City Pure Water Facility specified that contractors bidding on the project were required to have their apprentices be registered in a Joint Labor Management Apprentice Program (JLMAP). This contract requirement would exclude non-union apprentice workers who receive their training through non-union apprentice programs, including the AGC’s Apprentice Program. It would also exclude contractors who use non-union apprentices. Arguing that the project could be receiving loaned funds from the State of California, the city claimed that an exception to the city’s ordinance may apply.
Rejecting those arguments, however, on June 25, the court determined that the city made no showing that the state has conditioned any forthcoming loans on such a requirement and ruled that the city cannot ignore its own ordinance that states, “(T)he city should treat union and non-union contractors equally and not give special advantages to either. All city construction project job opportunities should be open equally to both union and non-union workers.”
“We are pleased that the court upheld established law that ensures all apprentices have the opportunity to secure their own city’s construction work, and also applied the mandate that the Ordinance be applied in a manner respecting the express intent of San Diego’s voters and of the Ordinance” said James Azadian, leader of the Dykema litigation team.
“Now all contractors and apprentices can compete on equal ground for this important project, which is exactly what the City of San Diego voters mandated when they overwhelmingly voted-in this free- and fair-competition ordinance almost a decade ago.”
“It is unfortunate that taxpayers and workers in the City of San Diego had to fight their own city in court to bring about a common-sense result that is based on a simple reading of the city’s own straightforward ordinance,” he said
The Dykema team included Azadian and Dykema labor and employment litigators Robert Boonin and Noah Hurwitz.