William E. GRACE, John Neely, Virginia Matetic, Mattie B. Coleman, Viola M. Lucas, and Maud C. Cammon, individually, and as Maricopa County Employees Wage Committee, Appellants,
MARICOPA COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS and James G. Hart, James T. O'Neill, and James E. Lindsay, as members of and constituting the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, and the Maricopa County Hospital, Appellees.
[89 Ariz. 142] Burton M. Bentley, Phoenix, for appellants.
Charles C. Stidham, as Maricopa County Atty., James J. Caretto, Chief Civil Deputy, Phoenix, for appellees.
Plaintiffs (appellants herein) as individuals and as the Maricopa County Employees Wage Committee on behalf of themselves and 153 other employees of the Maricopa County Hospital, brought suit against the defendants (appellees herein) for varying amounts to which they claimed they were entitled under the Arizona minimum wage law. The matter was submitted to the Superior Court upon a Stipulation and Agreed Statement of Facts. The Stipulation set out three issues:
(1) Whether the employees of the Maricopa County Hospital involved in the case were manual or mechanical laborers within the meaning of the minimum wage law, and
(2) & (3) Whether payment to them of the minimum wages claimed would violate certain statutory provisions relating to payment of salaries, and expenditures under the state budget laws.
Since the trial court resolved the second and third issues and no appeal was taken therefrom, we will consider only the question of whether or not the employees involved in this case fell within the applicable provisions of the minimum wage law, A.R.S. § 23-391.
The pertinent provisions of this statute are as follows:
'B. Not less than the minimum per diem wage fixed by the state highway commission for manual or mechanical [89 Ariz. 143] labor performed for the commission, or for contractors performing work under contract with the commission, shall be paid to persons doing manual or mechanical labor, employed by or on behalf of the state or a political subdivision thereof. The commission shall determine and publish minimum per diem wages not later than April 15 each odd numbered year'.
The employees here involved had rendered services within one year from the filing of the complaint on February 25, 1953. Hence, if applicable, the minimum wages fixed by the Arizona Highway Commission from February 25, 1952, would control. Pursuant to the agreed statement of facts, this was one dollar per hour.
Plaintiffs maintain that all persons 'doing manual or mechanical labor' in the execution of any contract with the state or any political subdivision thereof are included within the provisions of the act.
Defendants contend that the act 'was intended for that particular class of working man who is described as a laborer or mechanic doing work for the (Highway) commission or for other such persons doing the same type of work as contemplated by the classifications adopted by the Highway Commission and for other laborers or mechanics.'
We are in accord with plaintiffs' contention, as previoulsy announced in State v. Jaastad, 43 Ariz. 458, 456, 32 P.2d 799, 801:
'* * * Our Legislature, in enacting chapter 12, supra (now A.R.S. § 23-391), undoubtedly had under consideration the general public policy of a minimum wage for all mechanical and manual labor employed by the state or its political subdivisions, and not the particular kind ...