A week after 86 Teamsters at CalPortland walked off the job in Seattle and 208 other Teamsters in the sand and gravel industry prepared to do the same, a deal was reached in the pre-dawn hours between Teamsters Local 174 and the five companies involved in bargaining.
The contract was voted on by Local 174 members at CalPortland, Cadman, Stoneway Concrete, Salmon Bay Sand & Gravel, and Lehigh Cement. It was ratified by a 92 percent margin.
The four-year contract includes wage increases, increases in pension contributions and full maintenance of benefits for healthcare over the entire length of the contract. It also includes language that protects Teamster work in King County from being undercut by drivers brought in from outlying areas at lower wage rates, according to the Teamsters.
“We are incredibly proud of the strength and dedication our members showed during this difficult process,” said Local 174 Secretary-Treasurer Rick Hicks. “A strike is hard on everyone involved, and our CalPortland members held the picket lines with courage and with patience. Without their sacrifice, we could never have gotten this incredible contract. They are an inspiration to us all.”
CalPortland blamed the walk-out for disrupting construction work in the field.
“The labor walk out by local teamster mixer drivers employed by CalPortland, that began on August 11th, continued through Friday, August 18th, when all parties agreed to a four-year contract that was ratified immediately by Teamsters Local 174 members,” CalPortland said in a statement. “CalPortland drivers were expected to return to work the following day and despite an announcement by Local 174 that ‘everyone is now back to work’, workers did not report for work on early Saturday morning, causing yet another unnecessary delay to a critical 5,600 cu. yd. concrete mat pour on Saturday. On Monday, August 21st, drivers returned for service and plants and projects are returning to normal operations.”
The strike threatened to halt Seattle’s record construction boom. More than 70 major projects are underway in downtown Seattle alone.