Ninth Circuit Rejects Challenge to California’s SB 954

On July 30, 2018, the Ninth Circuit issued a unanimous opinion in Interpipe Contracting, Inc. v. Becerra, Ninth Circuit Case No. 17-55248, rejecting several legal challenges to California Senate Bill 954, which amended California’s prevailing wage law to clarify that public works contractors may only take credit against the prevailing wage requirement for contributions made to industry advancement programs when those contributions are made pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement, thereby ensuring that construction workers’ wages are not diverted without their consent.  The challengers, one of whom was represented on appeal by Pacific Legal Foundation, had argued that SB 954 was preempted by the National Labor Relations Act and also violated the First Amendment.  The Ninth Circuit, in a published opinion written by Judge Callahan, rejected both arguments, recognizing that SB 954 simply closed a loophole in prior law that some contractors were using to appropriate their employees’ wages without consent, and did not implicate any First Amendment concerns.  Altshuler Berzon attorneys represented the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California as amicus curiae in the case.

You can read the Ninth Circuit’s decision here.