Sound Transit: Light rail projects delayed following strike

Concrete mixer and dump truck drivers are returning to work after going on strike in December in Seattle.

The strike delayed construction projects across the region, including four major light rail projects in the Seattle area.

The Lynnwood Link Extension Project was expected to extend light rail into Snohomish County in 2024. But, projects like that have experienced a major slowdown after concrete drivers started striking.

"What you are seeing right here is our 185th station and garage," said Ginger Ferguson, construction manager with Sound Transit. "This area here has been under heavy construction for the last couple of years. We had a lot of this built out and ready when the strike started."

With the strike ending, Sound Transit says that construction will begin again on the areas of the projects that need concrete to move forward.

"Our progress has been greatly slowed down for several months," said Ron Lewis, executive director of Sound Transit's Design, Engineering and Construction Management Group. "That’s why Sound Transit is greatly relieved that the Teamsters Local 174 yesterday offered an unconditional resolution to its strike affecting the delivery concrete to projects across King and Snohomish County."

Despite the relief, Lewis said the strike has slowed down progress on the four major light rail extensions in King and Snohomish County. He said that includes a 14-mile extension to Mercer Island, Bellevue and Redmond, and the extension from there to downtown Redmond. Lewis said it also includes the Lynnwood Link project to Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace and Lynnwood, and the nearly 8-mile extension to Kent and Federal Way. 

"The strike that ended in its fifth month is having a meaningful impact on all our projects," said Lewis.

Lewis says he doesn't know how this might impact the final completion dates yet, but staff will be assessing the impact across their ‘entire portfolio’ and working with the board to determine what to do about it.

The Teamsters Union Local 174 released a statement:

"For months, the companies controlling Seattle’s concrete industry have stonewalled negotiations and rejected nine different proposals from Teamsters Local 174 that would support working families. On Friday, the 300+ ready-mix concrete and dump truck drivers and support staff offered an unconditional return to work starting on Monday for the people of Seattle. Meanwhile, negotiations for a new contract will continue."

Lewis hopes the delays don't become a pattern. "We again call on the parities to work towards a long term solution," he said.


Judge: Seattle concrete companies intentionally drove into striking workers at picket line

A King County Superior Court Judge has ruled in favor of striking concrete workers, who filed a lawsuit against the Seattle companies that attempted to block union members from protesting. 

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