IR #07-55
November 20, 2007

Kate McGuire
(415) 703-5050

DIR prohibits Marin contractor from bidding on public works contracts

San Francisco—The California Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Apprenticeship Standards (DIR/DAS), which oversees apprentices in public works projects, has issued an order prohibiting Christopher J. Augusto Plumbing Company of Marin County from bidding on or receiving any public works contracts for three years.

A DAS investigation of complaints filed by Plumbers & Steamfitters, Local Union 159, found that on three projects, Augusto had failed to comply with the requirements for contractors on public works jobs to secure training opportunities for apprentices: Greenbrook Elementary School Expansion (San Ramon Unified School District), Mondavi Farm Labor Camp Remodel (Napa Valley Housing Authority), and the Hills Fire Station project (City of Berkeley). Augusto had claimed membership in an approved apprenticeship program, but the investigation found it was terminated for failure to pay benefit and training funds.

"We have zero tolerance for any type of unlawful activity such as that demonstrated by this contractor or any other on public works projects," said DIR Director John Duncan. "We will continue to vigorously pursue complaints to ensure that California apprentices receive the training on public works projects that is critical to meeting California's future workforce needs."

The prohibition against Augusto, known as a debarment, took effect on November 6, 2007. The debarment denies Augusto, both individually and in the name of his business, the right to bid on or to receive any public works contracts for three years. As part of a settlement agreement between Augusto and the DAS, the firm is allowed to complete four public works projects already underway. The firm is also paying $35,400 in penalties in connection with the complaints.

The four public works projects Augusto is permitted to complete are: Tamalpais High School-New Keyser Building (Tamalpais Union High School District); Circadian Way Fire Station (City of Santa Rosa); Junipero Serra Playground & Clubhouse Renovations (City and County of San Francisco); and Lowell High School Modernization (San Francisco Unified School District).

Established within DIR in 1945, DAS enforces California labor law in apprenticeship programs to protect their integrity. DAS also fosters, promotes and develops employment-based apprenticeship training programs correlated with related and supplemental classes provided by local education agencies.

For more information, visit the DAS web site at