Monthly Archives: November 2012

Fair Wages

The City’s Office of Labor Standards Enforcement, (OLSE) enforces labor laws adopted by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and by San Francisco voters. OLSE works to educate employers and workers about these requirements and serves as a resource to employers who need additional information.

OLSE also ensures that contractors on City funded construction projects comply with prevailing wage laws and other labor standards contained in local, state, and federal law. The prevailing wage rates are set by the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) and adopted by the SF Board of Supervisors. These rates can be found at:

The goal of the OLSE Prevailing Wage Unit is to ensure that workers are paid the correct prevailing wage rate for the type of work they perform. Enforcement of these requirements also promotes a level playing field for contractors bidding on City work.

In conjunction with the OLSE, San Francisco’s Surety Bond Program hosted three free trainings this spring regarding prevailing wage requirements that apply to work performed for the City & County of San Francisco. In the first seminar OLSE compliance officers Mary Marzotto and Shirley Trevino reviewed the DIR Prevailing Wage Determinations and how to read and understand what is required. This topic included information about wage rates, fringe benefits, classifications, apprenticeship requirements, travel and subsistence and other labor standards.

Scope of Work was reviewed in the second seminar. OLSE reviewed the types of work that may be performed by each craft based on the information published on DIR’s website. The seminars were very interactive and participants presented various work related scenarios which were analyzed by the group and the OLSE leaders.

In an effort to make contracting with the City more efficient, City departments implemented a web based system provided by Elation Systems, Inc., for projects advertised for bid after July 1, 2008. Ardis Graham of OLSE, who oversees the City’s contract with Elation, explained to contractors how to submit Certified Payroll Records using the electronic system. He also explained how to make corrections to payroll records when errors or omissions are made and the types of documentation that are necessary to support such changes.

The OLSE is committed to ensuring that stakeholders – including contractors, contracting officials, unions, workers and other interested parties – understand the wage and fringe benefit requirements that apply to city contracts. OLSE staffers said that they were pleased to provide the contracting community with these free prevailing wage trainings. They are a key component of the OLSE’s ongoing efforts to foster good relations through increased awareness of prevailing wage requirements.

Information about labor standards requirements is provided by OLSE staff at pre-bid and pre-construction conferences and is available at the OLSE website ( Contractors and subcontractors are encouraged to call their office for information or to answer any questions about wage rates, classifications, apprenticeship, overtime provisions, certified payroll requirements or any other labor standards question.

Pier 35Alphonso Rhodes, owner of AJS Painting & Decorating, doesn’t like turning down jobs. But that’s exactly what happened when he got offers for big projects that needed bonding that were over his capacity.

But everything changed when he bid on a project for a million-dollar water plant project in San Bruno. with Keiwiet Infrastructure. They liked his company, which he started in 2001, but they told him they needed a bond.

Something clicked for Rhodes. He had known about the San Francisco Bond Assistance Program for a long time through his network, but never really needed to apply. Now he did.

He applied, was accepted, and got the job. He got paid, and got to work. It was his first bond. A little procrastination aside, he says that the process was relatively quick and easy. The folks at the Bond Assistance Program not only made things easy, but also helped him better understand his contract, working out details on topics like liquidated damage.

He started the four-year job in December 2012, and plans to hire at least two more employees in the near future. “It’s a beginning, a new birth,” he said. “I was like a little kid waiting for the paperwork to come in, and when I got it, it was like Christmas,” he says.

The bonding has already helped him tremendously. And he’s confident that it will keep paying off. “If you want to make it out here with the big boys, you have to get one,” he says, noting that it will help him with bidding on a job as a prime. “I can bid on other jobs that I’ve been turning down.”