Some concrete deliveries set to resume Saturday despite union agreeing to immediate return
At least two Seattle-area concrete suppliers have approved a Saturday return to work for Teamsters who have been on strike since December. It remains unclear when specific projects, such as the West Seattle Bridge repair, will begin receiving deliveries again.
“Under the law, we have five days to process the orderly reinstatement of the strikes,” reads a statement on behalf of Salmon Bay Sand and Gravel. A similar statement from Cadman Seattle also confirms the strikers’ work return five days from Monday’s announcement.
On Monday evening, Teamsters Local 174 announced that workers with three of the six companies would resume deliveries to select Seattle plants while negotiations for a new union contract continued. The intention was to reopen the flow of concrete to crucial projects facing delays as a result of the months-long strike, including the West Seattle Bridge, Sound Transit Link extension projects, the Seattle Convention Center expansion, and the 520 restoration project.
But as of Tuesday morning, deliveries have yet to resume, according to Teamsters Local 174 spokesperson Jaime Fleming.
“They are not driving today, we made the offer to the companies yesterday,” she told KIRO Newsradio’s Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin. “They told us that they apparently needed some time to get ready.”
Fleming reports being told by employers that they “need five days to prepare or make a decision.” In a joint statement to MyNorthwest on Tuesday, four of the concrete suppliers clarified that they “look forward to welcoming back the partial return of drivers,” but did not specify when that might occur.
In the event that deliveries resume within the next few days, a source tells KIRO Newsradio that the West Seattle Bridge may not start receiving concrete until next week at the earliest, given that the project still needs to work out a deal with the companies where drivers will be returning to work.
Meanwhile, Teamsters Local 174 is emphasizing its hope to get its people back to work — even in a limited capacity — in order to get the region’s construction projects moving again.
“We’re sick of seeing these really important projects being held up because these employers just don’t want to bargain in good faith,” Fleming said. “I mean, if they want to try and bust the union and have a war that lasts a year, that’s on them, but we’re not going to let important projects sit — the West Seattle Bridge sit — while they figure out what they’re trying to do.”
In a letter to Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, King County Executive Dow Constantine wrote that the employers wish the ongoing concrete strike to continue into the spring.
“Local 174 members have reported hearing from representatives of the companies that they are planning to force members to strike into the spring, which will cause members’ healthcare coverage to lapse. Such an event would likely increase the companies’ power at the bargaining table,” the letter reads.
We have reached out to the concrete suppliers for a clarification on whether drivers will be allowed to resume work, but have not yet received a response.
MyNorthwest reporter Dalton Day contributed to this story.