Concrete flows into Puget Sound region job sites, absent the Teamsters

Mar 3, 2022, 5:29 AM | Updated: 8:08 am
Malcolm Drilling in Kent (Chris Sullivan/KIRO Newsradio)
(Chris Sullivan/KIRO Newsradio)

Concrete is once again being delivered on some big King County projects, but it’s not being delivered by Teamsters. That has the tempers flaring in this three-month-long strike.

A giant inflatable rat and dozens of picketers greeted the employees of Malcolm Drilling in Kent early Wednesday. The picketers had heard the company was using non-Teamsters drivers and concrete trucks from the regional suppliers to deliver concrete to their job sites, and they were not happy.

Malcolm Drilling’s district manager, John Kvinsland, said he crossed the line of angry picketers and went out to talk to them.  He said he was verbally assaulted and went back inside.

KIRO Newsradio was told by sources the company then turned on giant air compressors, which make a high-pitch sound. That was later confirmed by a pro-union Facebook page called Scabs of King County, and there was concern fire hoses were going to be used to disperse the picketers.

Kvinsland confirmed the use of those compressors.

“To hear the expletives screamed over loud horns and the sirens constantly going, I have people that work outside in this environment,” he said. “We effectively just tried to drown out the noise. I mean, we listen to air compressors all day long — it’s part of our job. If we can get some kind of monotone going outside instead of having my employees have to listen to the rhetoric, that’s what we did.”

What about the potential for fire hoses?

“No violence intended and no violence planned,” he said.

Kvinsland also confirmed that his company is using other labor union members, with the proper certifications, to deliver concrete. They are laborers, carpenters, and operating engineers. And while he sympathizes with the 330 striking Teamsters, he just can’t go without concrete anymore.

“I have a responsibility to my clients,” he said. “I have a responsibility to my owner. I have a responsibility to our people to put them to work and get them to work and get the ball rolling.”

He said he’s had to lay off more than 100 people during this strike, which actually started in November for his company when the union started its action against Stoneway Concrete.

“Their families need to work, and same with the families of their brothers at Malcolm Drilling,” he said. “We have to get to work.”

And the financial losses are mounting.

“The losses are in the seven figures, easy, and keep in mind that I’m just a drop in the bucket,” Kvinsland said. “I’m a lowly subcontractor. There are contractors that have losses far more dramatic.”

The company will continue to use other union workers to deliver concrete to the job sites, and more contractors are going the same route.

“I think the majority of them are pursuing their own trucks,” he said. “In talking to my peers in the industry, they’re gearing up to haul more concrete. One started [Wednesday], and he’s going to double his operations by Friday.”

By the way, Kent police were called to the protest, and it broke up peacefully.

Check out more of Chris’ Chokepoints.


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?
7 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.
12 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.
15 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.
18 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.
26 days ago
WSDOT, HOV lanes...
Chris Sullivan

Northbound HOV optimism and aggressive litter cleanup in Puyallup

Nearly every morning on the KIRO Newsradio text line, I receive this question: When will the northbound HOV lane open?
28 days 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 flows into Puget Sound region job sites, absent the Teamsters