7/31/07

IUOE authorizes Seattle strike

There are construction sites all over Seattle and King County, and most could be seriously impacted by a concrete strike. Negotiations appeared to be continuing Monday between concrete truck drivers and four major concrete companies. Dave Hurley is a project manager for Real Property Development. His company works on residential projects. "If there's a strike, then we have to wait. We don't have any other choice," he said about a townhouse not yet finished.

Hurley's concrete comes from Salmon Bay Sand & Gravel in nearby Ballard. Salmon Bay is one of four local companies negotiating with the teamsters over a new contract. On the union's Web site, Sunday morning members voted in favor of a strike authorization that would give negotiators the power to call a strike if necessary.

Strike authorizations are typically granted during negotiations, but the Web site also suggests sessions earlier this month have been moving in a positive direction.

But the construction industry is a bit on edge after a multi-week strike just a year ago by the Operating Engineers who work in the concrete plants.

Hurley says a strike could raise costs for home buyers.

"So if you have a homeowner who's on the edge at a $400,000 house, now all of a sudden we need to bump $10,000 or $20,000 onto it. Now maybe they can't afford it," he said.

The union's website says it was hoping for a ratification vote Sunday morning, but instead said without an agreement in place they would take a strike vote, which they did.

That strike by the Operating Engineers last year lasted almost the entire month of August.

(king5.com)

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