SAN FRANCISCO, CA (December 9, 2013) – Littler Mendelson and Atkinson Adelson are representing a variety of contractors and employees in a pair of lawsuits against the State of California that challenges the constitutionality of Senate Bill 54 (SB 54). The statute will essentially require all construction and maintenance work at oil refineries within the state to be performed by members of the California Building Trades unions. SB 54 goes into effect on January 1, 2014.
One action was filed in federal district court in Sacramento on December 5, 2013, and a second action was filed in Kern County Superior Court on December 6, 2013. Both suits ask the court to find SB 54 unenforceable on a variety of theories, including federal preemption, the interference of free flow of commerce, and other principles of state law.
Ironically, the law will result in the loss of employment and contracts of both union and non-union workers and contractors, including the United Steelworkers (USW) who currently work at a number of refineries throughout the state. In a letter dated September 23, 2013, USW President Leo Gerard asked AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka to intervene with the Building Trades given its raiding of USW’s Local 1945.
“SB 54 is clearly designed to benefit only the Building Trades unions by securing for themselves virtually all maintenance and construction work at California oil refineries,” said Michael Lotito, one of the plaintiff’s counsel and co-chair of Littler’s Workplace Policy Institute. “We are confident that the courts will act quickly to find the law unconstitutional to avoid the negative consequences to current California employees and their employers.”
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