Striking concrete drivers return to 2 companies, union says strike not over

A concrete workers' union has reached "good faith" agreements with two companies, as the concrete strike enters its fifth month.

The offer to return to work at these companies was in good faith and does not mean a new contract agreement has been reached.

Representatives of Teamster’s Local 174, which represents around 330 workers, say Cadman’s Seattle facility and Salmon Bay Sand & Gravel can use union drivers and haul concrete to projects of the companies' choosing.

The agreement with Cadman only affects the company’s Seattle plant but is not a contract.

Sound Transit said on Monday that it expects to receive 8,000 cubic yards of concrete—roughly 800 truckloads—at its Lynnwood Light Rail Extension Project over the next few weeks, and the concrete will be coming from Cadman’s Seattle plant.

But at Stoneway Concrete and CalPortland, the picket lines are still out.

At Stoneway's Harbor Island facility, a steady stream of unmarked cement trucks left the facility after a brief visit on Monday. Strikers called them "ghost trucks," which are driven by non-union workers, because company emblems had been taped up and could not be seen.

A union spokesperson says the agreements do not mean the strike will end soon, and there are no new negotiations being planned. Talks will resume Tuesday between striking truck drivers and Gary Merlino Construction, which has a connection with Stoneway.

Last week, King County Executive Dow Constantine proposed the county get into the concrete business as a long-term hedge to prevent any future disruption of public projects.

READ: Concrete worker strike puts government, private projects on critical hold

"The local market for concrete has failed, not just these individual construction projects, but the people of King County at a critical moment," Constantine told King County council members, referring to several large-scale projects, like Sound Transit light rails and the Convention Center expansion.

On Friday, the Teamsters International Union donated $1 million to support striking concrete drivers.

Now four months into the strike, other building trade unions are starting to feel the pain of the strike, grappling with layoffs without the benefit of the $1 million dollar strike fund.

"Right away, it was obviously cement masons, ironworkers, rod busters and laborers," said Monty Anderson, Executive Secretary of the Seattle Building and Construction Trades Council. "Now, as it goes further, you're going to start seeing the other trades that join projects later like electricians, plumbers and roofers being impacted."

Because of construction delays caused by the drivers' strike, Sound Transit says it has been forced to lay off workers; 105 at the Lynnwood extension project, 30 at the East Link extension, 110 at the Redmond extension and 40 at the Federal Way extension.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: West Seattle Bridge repairs delayed amid worker strike

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