TUCSON, Ariz. – Roofers here have filed a class action lawsuit against Metric Roofing, alleging illegal wage withholding and misrepresentation, as well as demands for illegal kickbacks from workers.

On Jan. 10 Metric workers called a press conference to announce the lawsuit. They were joined by state and local union representatives and community supporters. The rally was held in front of a site where KB Home is building a subdivision. Los Angeles-based KB Homes is the number-two homebuilder in Tucson and subcontracts with Metric.

“Metric Roofing is one of the biggest residential companies in the country with millions of dollars in revenues,” said John Martini, executive vice president of the International Roofers Union, which has been supporting the workers’ effort. “It’s shocking that a company as big and rich as Metric doesn’t pay its workers what they’re owed. This is outrageous, against the law, and has to be stopped.”

Pima County Supervisor Raul Grijalva pointed out that the county had just passed a Living Wage ordinance to guarantee county workers a fair wage. He said that developers come before the county every week for zoning changes claiming that they are doing it to keep people working.

“We have people working,” he said, “but they don’t have the rights other workers have to freely associate and enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Metric is the third major roofing subcontractor of KB Homes to be sued for wage-cheating and other violations.

Over 500 residential roofers, at three different contractors in the Phoenix area, are now under the protection of a collective bargaining agreement with the Roofers Union. The union has been aggressively organizing in Arizona and across the West, having committed well over 40 percent of their budget to organizing the unorganized.

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