Last Remaining Lawsuit Over SB 54 Ends!

April 28, 2015 - SBCTC Refinery Safety Bill is Unchallenged Law - Attorneys for the plaintiffs in Harley Morgan v. State of California, the last remaining lawsuit seeking to overturn SB 54, the State Building and Construction Trades Council-sponsored law to improve safety at refineries by requiring the use of workers from state-approved apprenticeship programs, filed a request for dismissal in Kern County Superior Court on April 23. That action ends the sole remaining challenge to this important new law.

As a result, SB 54 is now the unchallenged law of the land in California. Its provisions to improve worker training at refineries, to make these facilities safer both for the workers and the surrounding communities, remain fully in effect. SB 54 phases in a requirement that by 2016, 60 percent of workers at these facilities who are brought in by outside contractors be skilled and trained journeypersons who have graduated from a state-approved apprenticeship program, and that those workers be paid the prevailing wage.

SBCTC President Robbie Hunter commented: “This is an important victory for California workers and their communities. The challenges to SB 54 were actually challenges to the safety of refinery facilities and the surrounding communities, to the safety of workers, and to decent jobs and wages for Californians. We owe gratitude to our top-notch legal team, led by Fred Woocher (Strumwasser & Woocher), for making the convincing case that SB 54 is valid law, and to Attorney General Kamala Harris for her vigorous defense, convincing a federal judge to refuse to block its enforcement while lawsuits were pending. Today California is safer because of SB 54.”   

This first of its kind law in the nation, barring future lawsuits, will remain the law of the land in California. We will continue to work to protect and strengthen it.

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