Union concrete workers, suppliers reach truce without scheduling new contract talks

Apr 27, 2022, 6:35 AM
(Photo by Dan Callister/Newsmakers)
(Photo by Dan Callister/Newsmakers)

After striking in the Seattle area for nearly five months, most of the 330 formerly picketing concrete delivery drivers are back at work.

Two weeks ago, the union reached a truce with the concrete companies so that construction projects could ramp back up over the next few months. The strike started in November 2021.

Layoffs ‘into the thousands, more to come’ as concrete worker strike nears third month

“It has become abundantly clear to us over the months this strike has gone on that these employers simply do not care who they hurt in their quest to break the union,” Teamsters Local 174 Secretary-Treasurer Rick Hicks said in a statement. “Thankfully, we are not like them in that regard. Unlike the employers, we care deeply about our communities and the people who live in them, which is why we are making this good-faith offer. We are all in full agreement this is the right move for the industry and the community. Our union is stronger than ever, and we will not give up our fight until we reach a fair contract.”

The union concrete workers are still negotiating a new contract and are only returning to work at two plants so some concrete can flow to critical projects, according to Teamsters Local No. 174 Director of Communications Jamie Fleming, who calls this truce a “favor” to the communities hurt by stalled construction companies due to lack of concrete.

One company is still holding out, affecting about 20 union members.

There still is not a renewed contract and no future talks are scheduled as of this reporting.

In January of this year, Glacier Northwest, Stoneway Concrete, Salmon Bay Sand & Gravel, and Cadman, Inc. provided a deal to end the strike with the union, calling it “the best package we have ever offered.” It included a 17.6% pay increase over the next three years, improved pension contributions and medical benefits, and retiree medical insurance.

Concrete is flowing to local construction sites at close to pre-strike levels, according to a concrete company representative.

The I-90 construction delays from a few years ago are back again

“For more than 100 days, most of the region’s construction has stopped as a result of a dispute between several sand and gravel companies and their employees, who are represented by Teamsters Local 174,” King County Executive Dow Constantine said in a prepared statement. “Thousands of construction jobs have been impacted, tens of millions of dollars lost, and critical infrastructure projects delayed including wastewater, transit, bridges, and housing.”

Most striking delivery drivers agreed to go back to work two weeks ago to keep more construction projects from shutting down. Union drivers still remain unsatisfied with working under their old contract, according to Mike Walker from Local 174.

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Union concrete workers, suppliers reach truce without scheduling new contract talks