Seattle Washington

Seattle Area Concrete Strike Enters the Third Month

Seattle-area development might be disrupted for months to come as a result of a disagreement between local concrete producers and dozens of mixer drivers on strike that concluded early Thursday afternoon without a settlement.

Workers in the Seattle area who went on strike at the end of 2021 have promised to maintain their protest to the Port of Everett, Washington, and have already delayed the delivery of 500 trucks to 4 key Sound Transit Authority job sites. Because the six companies are all covered by the same master employment agreement, the strike started on a lower scale on November 19th with 34 employees. Since then, the walkout has increased from 34 workers to 320 drivers.

There has been minimal movement on any agreements since the commencement of the work stoppage. Concrete firm owners say they’ve been attempting to engage with the union for the past three weeks to begin negotiations under federal mediation but to no effect.

A representative for four specific companies said that discussions had ended “without a settlement to the open union contract.” Both parties refuse to reveal the specifics of their discussions to each other. The union officials claim to speak for their members when they say they have received a settlement that falls short as to what other trades have gotten.

A rise in wages of 17.6 percent over the course of three years, “improved pension contributions,” and “continuing support” for medical coverage were among the perks firms announced to employees on Monday.

Despite this, a statement from the Teamsters regarding the ongoing strike said that an owner’s representative had not communicated to the Teamsters in almost six weeks. Workers at the Port of Everett said Monday that their three-hour protest had closed down the facility and that the owners’ offer was “subpar.”

Local 174’s secretary-treasurer Rick Hicks claimed that “these foreign construction organizations are pushing that workers accept a mix of pay, healthcare, and pension that would imply a loss in compensation over four years,” when inflation is taken into consideration. Other construction workers in Seattle get far better pay, so this package would be a bargain.

At the same time, a statement from seven prominent general contractors with businesses in the Seattle region encouraged negotiations and warned of significant economic harm already done, stating that in the autumn of last year, the region’s 2,000 carpenters went on a wider strike, which was eventually settled after workers consented to a salary increase and parking perks.

It also follows a bigger national labor movement nicknamed “Striketober,” in which employees from numerous sectors went on strike in October. These strikes greatly affected the local economies of the regions affected and it may take longer to recover if the strikes go on any longer.

The Teamsters union stressed the ripple effects of the strike on other industries in their statement, saying it is possible that thousands of workers may lose their jobs if the Puget Sound area runs out of concrete to use in new building projects. With middle-class households in Seattle still waiting for a paycheck, businesses’ refusal to deal with the Teamsters may have a terrible impact on the local economy.

Photo: “Space Needle – Seattle, Washington” by Dougtone

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