Concrete worker strike crippling major construction projects in King County

Jan 25, 2022, 5:30 AM
concrete, light rail...
All of the columns (and most of the girders) have been placed on the Lynnwood Link extension. (Photo courtesy of Sound Transit)
(Photo courtesy of Sound Transit)

Will light rail expansion projects across King County be delayed by the ongoing concrete workers strike? It’s been nearly two months since any concrete was delivered.

Imagine you are building the largest expansion of light rail in the country, but you can’t get any concrete delivered. That’s the situation for Sound Transit, as more than 300 concrete workers continue their strike against six King County companies.

In the seven weeks since the strike began, Sound Transit has not received more than 14,000 cubic yards of concrete, which the agency’s John Gallagher puts into perspective.

“That means more than 1,400 missed deliveries,” he said. “If you lined all those trucks up, it would be a line of more than 9 miles.”

It’s hard to build guideways and parking garages without those 1,400 concrete deliveries. Gallagher visited the Shoreline south station last week.

“There are a number of forms that are there that are waiting for concrete to be poured, and those are obviously on hold,” he said. “There’s just a lot of work that’s on pause right at the moment.”

The biggest impact has been felt on the Lynnwood extension.

Gallagher said this strike is also impacting jobs.

“So far, the contractors have had to lay off about 164 workers, and there are more than another 120 workers who are likely to be laid-off in the coming weeks,” he said.

The big question for the public is what will a protracted strike mean for opening the light rail extensions? Right now, this hasn’t impacted those long-term schedules, but it could going forward.

And all Sound Transit can do at this point is sit on the sidelines of negotiations and hope the strike is resolved quickly.

“We would just like to get back to work,” Gallagher said. “That’s why we’re just calling on both sides to get back to the negotiating table, with an unbiased mediator, resume negotiations so the work can get back underway.”

A mediator was called in last week to help settle the dispute, but talks did not go anywhere. It was the first meeting between the two sides in months.

Seattle-area concrete worker strike continues following failed session with federal mediator

This strike isn’t just impacting Sound Transit either. Anyone who needs concrete in King County is struggling — both public and private projects.

The City of Seattle has also delayed several projects that were set to start this year, and the strike has impacted the construction of the Bus Rapid Transit corridor on Madison Avenue.

The Washington State Department of Transportation said the strike has led to contractor layoffs and delays across its projects in King County, including the 520 Bridge project and the expansion of 405 between Renton and Bellevue.

Check out more of Chris’ Chokepoints.


Coffee Travel...
Chris Sullivan

Free coffee returns to a rest area near you this weekend

The free coffee is back. After a two-year pandemic break, you can finally get a free cup at your favorite rest area.
3 days ago
Trash is strewn along an Interstate 5 freeway on-ramp as viewed in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by G...
Chris Sullivan

Sullivan: A glance at current Washington state laws to avoid littering on the road

Littering is still a huge problem on our roads, but are you still required to carry a trash bag in your car?
12 days ago
Expansion joints underneath I-5 (KIRO Newsradio)...
Chris Sullivan

I-5 expansion joint repair will hamper your summer driving

If the weather holds, southbound I-5 will be shut-down this weekend through Seattle for the first of a summer’s worth of weekend closures for expansion joint repairs.
17 days ago
(Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)...
Chris Sullivan

ORCA card gets a reboot with instant value transfer feature

The new site and app will allow more than five million users to add money to their accounts instantly alongside 6,000 new card readers and vending machines.
20 days ago
Chris Sullivan

Sullivan: Sound Transit passes fare reform with diminished ridership accountability checks

Sound Transit no longer has mechanisms in place to check I-D's and track who isn't paying in the first place with their decision to remove law enforcement from the fare enforcement process.
23 days ago
Expansion joints I-5, bumps...
Chris Sullivan

Work to remove bumps along I-5 through downtown Seattle set to bring months of weekend closures

Workers are about kick off work to remove those bumps on I-5 through Seattle, but it's going to come with a heavy price for drivers.
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles


Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
Concrete worker strike crippling major construction projects in King County