WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: City says concrete strike may push back reopening schedule

1:15 PM: We’re in White Center at a media briefing led by officials including King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell. One bombshell just dropped: If the concrete strike isn’t resolved by February 20th, the West Seattle Bridge repair-completion schedule is going to slide. SDOT says they’ve rearranged various aspects of the project as much as they can but the contractor needs to pour concrete for the blocks and other structures that will hold the post-tensioning steel – interior strengthening that is a key component of the repair project. More details to come, including other affected city and county projects – the briefing is happening at a stalled county RapidRide H Line-related site in WC.

2:41 PM: Back from the briefing, which was originally called to announce a county plan to seek an alternate concrete contract in case this doesn’t get resolved soon. That’s fully explained in this news release (we’ll be adding the announcement video as soon as it’s uploaded). Could that also help with the supply for city projects? “We invite (others) to piggyback on this,” replied Constantine. But in the meantime, here are more details on the bridge situation, per Heather Marx, SDOT’s program director, with whom we spoke at the briefing site.

She says the bridge work that’s in danger of getting delayed doesn’t even need that much concrete – 245 cubic yards (for reference, the average concrete truck carries about 9 yards). But it’s a specialized mix. And due to the nature of concrete – it has to be used within a relatively short time after it’s mixed – they can’t just go out of the region to get some. The bridge-repairs contractor is proceeding with carbon-fiber wrapping and epoxy injection, two other key aspects of the work, but as the mayor put it, February 20th is the “drop-dead” date by which they need access to concrete to stay on schedule. And even if the strike is resolved by then, Marx said, they have other logistics to deal with – typically the bigger jobs would be first in line, so they’re working to try to ensure that they will have access as soon as possible once this is resolved. Further down the road, concrete also will be required for some of the finishing tasks in the repairs as well, but right now the blocks/structures for the post-tensioning are what’s affecting the “critical path” schedule.

The West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force will be briefed further on this at its next scheduled meeting at 4 pm tomorrow (Thursday) – here’s where to watch.

And back to the county projects affected, we talked briefly with Metro’s deputy GM Michelle Allison, who says the strike absolutely could lead to a delay in the RapidRide H Line’s scheduled launch this September, as they are still working on areas from West Seattle to Burien. One other note – both the county and city leaders present stressed that they want to see the strike “equitably and fairly” resolved; they’re not trying to point fingers at one side or another.

3:26 PM: Adding our video from the briefing, which also included Sound Transit‘s CEO.

And here’s the city news release, which among other things lists other potentially affected projects.

128 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE: City says concrete strike may push back reopening schedule"

  • Kevin February 9, 2022 (1:23 pm)

    Good. More power to the unions. Incentive for the concrete companies to offer a fair contract.

  • k February 9, 2022 (1:35 pm)

    The concrete workers’ contracts expired in July 2021 and the companies are refusing to come to the table and even negotiate.  It’s far past time they got over their pride and resumed talks with workers about a fair contract.  People want to work, but they’re not going to do it for wages and conditions far below industry standards.

    • The King February 9, 2022 (2:49 pm)

      Sounds good and all for the present but automation and driverless vehicles will quickly replace a majority of jobs in the US that pay $20 an hr or less. 

      • Pedro February 9, 2022 (3:46 pm)

        And these drivers (mixers) are making $37/hr on non-government jobs and $69/hr (starting) on government/prevailing wage jobs. Those figures are, however, inclusive of benefits  Nonetheless, that seems like pretty good pay with the 16%+ increase over 3 years that has been offered by the companies. I’m not saying they should take the deal; but the notion that there is a lack of good faith on the part of the companies seems disingenuous.

        • Mixer truck driver February 9, 2022 (7:32 pm)

          Pedro, you have no idea what you are talking about. The drivers do NOT make a prevailing wage for government jobs. They had a “take it or leave it” approach, without negotiation whatsoever. 

          • Pedro February 9, 2022 (7:55 pm)

            If it’s: (1) a taxpayer funded job (2) involving construction, reconstruction, maintenance, or repair  then you should be paid prevailing wage rates. That is most government jobs.  Basic L&I in this state. 

          • Mixer Truck Driver February 9, 2022 (9:24 pm)

            Yes, key word “should”. We don’t

        • Maureen Elizabeth McClain Sluman February 9, 2022 (9:39 pm)

          Mixer Drivers do not make a premium pay when working government/prevailing wage. Where did you get that kind of information?

  • skeeter February 9, 2022 (1:40 pm)

    And just like that… West Seattle became anti-union.

    • pophouse February 9, 2022 (8:06 pm)

      Nope. It is the concrete company delaying the bridge.

  • Mary February 9, 2022 (1:46 pm)

    WSB, do you know which companies the union is negotiating with? As one of their customers (via my Seattle tax dollars) I’d love to reach out to leadership by email and provide some feedback.

  • Lagartija Nick February 9, 2022 (1:46 pm)

    Grrr, this is frustrating. Weren’t we repeatedly assured during the last few press conferences that the strike wouldn’t affect the repair timeline? I have to assume the contractor listed this concrete work in their repair plans. How could the city have missed this? I really don’t want to believe that they knew and lied to us. I have mostly supported how the city has handled this project (it could and should have been a faster process) but at this late stage in the game this is an untenable misstep and my patience is wearing thin. Edited to add that my frustration is with the city and not the concrete workers. They deserve a fair contract.

  • bolo February 9, 2022 (1:46 pm)

    This possibility came up recently as a hypothetical (WSB comments section) and several replied that concrete was not required for this repair? Evidently that was not accurate?

    • WSB February 9, 2022 (3:39 pm)

      It wasn’t required for previous stages – the early work – but what they need to do next DOES require it.

  • K February 9, 2022 (2:05 pm)

    For god sake, give them whatever they want and get the d@mn bridge open…please. 

  • Joe Z February 9, 2022 (2:12 pm)

    Salmon Bay Sand & Gravel is too busy sabotaging the Burke-Gilman trail in Ballard to negotiate with their workers. Now they are going to delay the West Seattle Bridge by refusing to offer a fair contract. What a shame! 

  • Regular Guy February 9, 2022 (2:16 pm)

    Talk about leverage. LFG workers!!

  • Gregk February 9, 2022 (2:16 pm)

    This Teamster Local is negotiating with very large International companies.  There are alot of families on Unemployment because of this.  This West Seattle Union family stands in Solidarity with these Teamster’s struggles for fair wages and tenuous dreams of a blue collar middle class.  As Unions go, so go we all.

  • Chas Redmond February 9, 2022 (2:26 pm)

    In a large contract with potential risks, I’m quite surprised that there was no identification of this as a risk on the PERT chart for the project.  This was a known possibility. It seems there is still no brain to SDOT.

    • trickycoolj February 10, 2022 (9:00 am)

      Bingo project management 101. This should have been on the Risks/Issues log and they should have been transparent to their stakeholders (marooned WS Residents) as soon as the risk was realized as an issue and they started rearranging work around the availability of concrete. 

  • UnionStrong February 9, 2022 (2:34 pm)

    Great, more power to the Teamster members who have been willing to negotiate for months while the Merlino company has tried to wait them out and forced them to go unpaid over the holidays. Sit down and bargain a fair deal with these hardworking men and women. 

  • Adam February 9, 2022 (2:39 pm)

    I hope these places are full of scabs who get rewarded with hefty pay. I like ppl who wanna work. 

    • James February 9, 2022 (3:03 pm)

      People who want to work for scraps? Why do you like supporting the rich and wealthy who benefit off hard work? That’s who you really support with a comment like this. Stand by the union! It’s for the better.

    • Stopit February 9, 2022 (3:25 pm)

      Agreed Adam. This is getting ridiculous. Hopefully the strike doesn’t succeed.  It’d set quite a bad example.Now the bridge is being used as a pawn  

      • Derek February 9, 2022 (4:41 pm)

        “Stop it” you’re in the minority. The workers built this country. Not the wealthy who reap the benefits from the labor off the hard union workers’ backs. 

        • Adam February 10, 2022 (9:11 am)

          Derek, you have a clearly one-sided and very childish take on this. Things are built off workers AND those who pay the workers, bring the resources to build. I want scabs in there not because I support a single side, but because I want workers doing work. I’m old school that way. Don’t hold the rest of us hostage by playing the now typical “here’s my list of grievances” game. I’m not a concrete worker NOR do I own Cadman. I’m a West Seattlite who would just rather not pay the price for their fight. It has nothing to do with me. 

          • Mark47n February 10, 2022 (5:10 pm)

            You’re not “old school that way”. Old school was union, in my lifetime (I’m 49) union membership went from +50% of the workforce to current numbers of around 30%. This isn’t because people thought there was no m ore purpose for unions, it was because Reagan made it easier to break unions when he fired union air traffic controllers, en masse during a strike thus breaking PATCO, the ATCC union. With this came the concept of ‘Right to Work’, which has driven wages and benefits down for workers or all types, blue and white collar, All of those benefits that you get are thanks to unions. Workplace safety comes from a push by the unions.  Unless your “old school is child labor, no safety programs, etc from the turn of the 19th century.You don’t pay the price for their fight other than a bit on inconvenience. Striking is their right and fought for and paid for in blood and lives. Literally blood running in the streets and massacres of strikers by the military with machine guns (see Ludlow Massacre). Finally, to be clear, you want scabs because of your convenience. It’s out of YOUR self-interest. Your comments are some of the more insulting that I’ve had the misfortune to read here.I stand with the union. I always have and I always will.

          • CAM February 10, 2022 (5:34 pm)

            Old school in what way? Like in the Occupy days way? Or in the PATCO days way? Because it seems like aside from those rare episodes the more old school you get the less likely you would be to support scabs. Or are you talking the pre Great Depression days?

    • The Rog February 9, 2022 (3:30 pm)

      They do “wanna” work. They’re deserving of insurance and fair pay!

    • ITotallyAgreeWithYou February 9, 2022 (4:47 pm)

      If you support scabs getting “rewarded with hefty pay” then you should have no problem with the actual employees getting paid a fair wage. Otherwise your stand makes no sense.

      • Fern February 11, 2022 (4:48 am)

        Its stance also makes sense if it is a professional troll – foreign or domestic. Stirring dissent and getting a free education on our history and culture by these responses. “It” might as well say “up is down” and black is white”. I doubt “it” has a conscience. 

  • CarDriver February 9, 2022 (2:46 pm)

    100% behind the union. But also, can’t shake the suspicion that this is a convenient excuse for SDOT to justify a slide. 

    • Fern February 11, 2022 (4:50 am)

      I share your skepticism. Spend nearly two years to investigate and plan repairs to bridge and just a few months actually perform them? I didn’t think the bridge would be open in June.

  • CarDriver February 9, 2022 (2:53 pm)

    WSB. Will SDOT commit that any slide would be day for day? Example: if the strike ends 10 days after the 20th the “slide” would be 10 days after the June 30th date??  Or will they not commit to anything. 

    • Jay February 9, 2022 (3:37 pm)

      It’s a lot more complicated than that. A construction project is a series of tasks that have dependencies. Everything gets pushed back and the subcontractors will likely be booked for other jobs. If this gets pushed it’s going to be an absolute mess and I don’t envy the project managers who will have to deal with the fallout.

  • Cranky February 9, 2022 (2:54 pm)

    Well, how about that. Delay.  I am not surprised.

  • James February 9, 2022 (2:55 pm)

    WOOOO!!! GO WORKERS! I love this for the union. This should get them to increase those wages! Power to the people!

  • Mary February 9, 2022 (2:58 pm)

    As a Seattle taxpayer, we’re all customers of the cement companies. King county alone plans to spend $30M of our collective dollars on a variety of construction projects. The county is trying to push the negotiations forward but if anyone would like to give the companies some customer feedback, according to an article in The Guardian, the six companies involved in the strike are Gary Merlino Construction, Stoneway Concrete, Cadman, CalPortland, Salmon Bay Sand & Gravel and Lehigh Cement.https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/jan/26/seattle-cement-industry-workers-strike-unfair-wagesThe companies’ lead negotiator, president of Gary Merlino Construction Charlie Oliver, can be messaged at his LinkedIn profile https://www.linkedin.com/in/charlie-oliver-b2602b14 or the corporate headquarters phone number (206) 763-9552.You can leave a message for Paul Nerdrum VP of Salmon Bay Sand and Gravel  at company headquarters (206) 784-1234 or via his LinkedIn profile at https://www.linkedin.com/in/paul-nerdrum-b3996467. Or leave a message for owner Stover Babcock at https://www.linkedin.com/in/stover-babcock-978a0b6You can leave a message for Chris Ward, CEO of Lehigh Cement at company headquarters 972-653-5500 or via his LinkedIn profile at https://www.linkedin.com/in/chris-ward-36484a1b3By way of background, according to today’s Seattle Times article, mixer drivers have been on strike for months, slowing the flow of concrete to local job sites. King County hopes to push the two sides to reach a deal.https://www.seattletimes.com/business/king-county-pushes-for-end-to-monthslong-concrete-strike/According to the article, the union argues the companies want the drivers to settle for a less generous deal than other trades have received in recent years. According to the union, the top hourly rate for mixer drivers is about $37 an hour. Pay for public projects is higher. On taxpayer-funded job sites , the prevailing wage for a ready mix driver on a King County project starting today would be $69.95 an hour, according to the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries. That includes wages as well as benefits such as health care and pension .

    • The Rog February 9, 2022 (3:33 pm)

      This is fantastic, thanks Mary!

    • Gatewood resident February 9, 2022 (7:03 pm)

      $70 an hour to drive a truck is ridiculous. How about you provide the contact info for the union negotiators too

      • Mixer Truck Driver February 9, 2022 (7:41 pm)

        Mixer truck drivers at these companies  do not get prevailing wage. 

      • Mixer Truck Driver February 9, 2022 (7:46 pm)

        The drivers that work at these  companies do not earn prevailing wage. Driving those trucks is a dangerous job. You try driving a 70,000 pound truck with a spinning drum  with other drivers who are too busy on their phones to pay attention to the road. 

        • Pedro February 9, 2022 (8:01 pm)

          If they do work on publicly funded projects they do. Doesn’t matter if they are working for the main contractor or a sub. 

          • Mixer Truck Driver February 9, 2022 (9:26 pm)

            I work at one of the companies and I can tell you with certainty, we DO NOT GET PREVAILING WAGE. 

          • JES February 10, 2022 (7:39 am)

            Pedro, why are you speaking on things that (multiple) people ACTUALLY DOING THE JOB are telling you aren’t true? What sources back up your point? At this point you’re spreading false information and shouldn’t be allowed to comment anymore unless you provide some reliable sources. 

          • J February 10, 2022 (4:26 pm)

            Pedro, my husband is one of these drivers. They ARE NOT paid prevailing wage as union drivers. They are paid 37 per hour. In his job before this working as a non union mixer driver , they were paid a lower hourly wage but did receive prevailing wage at those city and government jobs. Union doesn’t get prevailing. They have a set standard wage for all jobs according to their contract.

      • Alison February 9, 2022 (10:33 pm)

        Why is it ridiculous to pay someone $70/hour to drive a huge cement truck? In your eyes, what should they be making?

        • Adam February 10, 2022 (9:15 am)

          Market value, like everything else should be

          • Gregk February 10, 2022 (4:14 pm)

            Adam, is cost of living part of that “market”?  If so, pay must rise.  The cost of living here is going up for me in property taxes, utilities, and food to name a few.

      • Mark47n February 10, 2022 (5:12 pm)

        That compensation numbers that have been listed here have been inclusive of benefits. It’s not all on the paycheck.

    • Dom February 9, 2022 (8:16 pm)

      Fantastic write-up, thanks. One correction though, the prevailing wage rate of 69.95 you stated does not apply to ready-mix truck drivers. There is only one pay rate.

    • Maureen Elizabeth McClain Sluman February 9, 2022 (9:46 pm)

      My husband is a mixer/driver. He states they make 37.00 an hr and nothing else. He is sitting next to me and has been in the union for 30 years

    • Melissa February 10, 2022 (9:07 am)

      Mary, you rock! Thank you so much for the information. 

  • Alex February 9, 2022 (2:59 pm)

    NOOOOOOO!!!! My kingdom for a bridge

    • Rocket February 9, 2022 (9:07 pm)

      Then stand in solidarity with the concrete workers rather than make foolish canard arguments focused on your own needs. 

  • RLV February 9, 2022 (3:05 pm)

    I want the bridge work to continue, but workers’ fight is far more important long term.  I support the union, and hope the owners will actually come to the table and bargain fairly.

  • CarDriver February 9, 2022 (3:09 pm)

    Adam. You either are in management at one of the cement companies or a troll. Which one are you?? 

    • Adam February 10, 2022 (9:21 am)

      I’m a former union employee who was ecstatic to get a professional class job when I did. But since I disagree with your take, I think in today’s world of “I’m virtuous and anyone who opposes is evil” then I guess I’m a troll? I mean, don’t let my own experience as a union member for many years be the reason I have my own opinion. 

  • Roms February 9, 2022 (3:19 pm)

    This union, like many unions, is working for the sole benefit of their members. People tend to forget that. They are NOT fighting for other workers like so many people say, and could not care less about other people. At some point it turns into a fight for privileges (think about the port union which creates 4 categories of employees from A to D, where As are kings and Ds are plain disposable).

    • James February 9, 2022 (3:29 pm)

      This is super nitpicky. And also just wrong. I know someone in this fight and they are a hard lined pro-labor struggle type. They do care, and those workers are free to join the union. 

      • Roms February 9, 2022 (3:41 pm)

        Thanks for making my point when you say “those workers are free to join the union.” In other words, if they don’t join, the union will not care for them. Also, it’s not free. They pay dues. Your other statement then becomes “they are a hard lined pro-labor struggle type” for their own.I’m not criticizing the legitimacy of that strike here. But people have to take a complete and not biased perspective.

        • Rocket February 9, 2022 (9:08 pm)

          Yes their union stands together to represent their membership. We as a community stand with them in their time of need and they return the favor when it’s our turn to win a fair contract. Solidarity works. 

    • The Rog February 9, 2022 (3:40 pm)

      Um, false. Just because it’s an hours race doesn’t mean they’re disposable. There’s too much to get into here, but all the A men and women I know are union strong and in support of unions outside their own local union. Support your brothers and sisters.

      • Roms February 9, 2022 (3:57 pm)

        A men and women can be union strong, that still doesn’t change the fact that they have much more power than B, C, and D. That’s how it’s defined in their convention. “In support of unions outside their own local union” and “support your brothers and sisters” make my point again: They’re fighting for themselves, not others.

    • Pessoa February 9, 2022 (3:57 pm)

      I’m not anti-union, per se, but you are correct.  Unions are a private club and the duty of union management is to use whatever leverage they can to maximize benefits for it’s members.  Fine up to a point.  But unions tend to cultivate a closed “us against them” mentality where the loudest, belligerent unreasonable voices dominate, something I disliked intensely when I was unionized with the CWA.   

      • Derek February 9, 2022 (4:43 pm)

        This is 100% false and a terrible mindset. 

        • Pessoa February 9, 2022 (5:59 pm)

          I speak from personal experience as a union member where dissenting, cautionary voices were shouted down at the union hall and the result?  A disastrous strike – for everyone.  I’m a free thinker who long ago freed myself, as much as possible, from either side’s rigid cant and dogma;  It doesn’t make one warm and fuzzy, and it’s a solitary road, but I highly recommend it. 

          • Melissa February 10, 2022 (9:11 am)

            What you say would carry more weight if you were to detail what the “dissenting, cautionary voices” had to say that was shouted down. Otherwise, you seem contrary for the sake of contrarianism.

    • cljskis February 9, 2022 (4:09 pm)

      False.  As a member of SEIU 1199NW I can tell you that we are committed to working for the benefit of all workers and support the teamsters in the strike for fair wages and benefits.  We also stand by Starbucks and Amazon worker fight to organize.  When unions win we all win, the decline in the overall standard of living in the US is directly related to the decline in Union membership.  These greedy concrete companies are attempting to break the unions so that the owners can increase profits for themselves.

      • Roms February 9, 2022 (5:12 pm)

        I want to clarify that I’m not denying anything about corporate greediness, etc. My point is that unions work for themselves first and foremost, and people tend to ignore that. “When unions win we all win” is not true: When unions win, union members win. Currently, following the strike, non-union workers are losing their job. Will they get a benefit from the strike? No. Will the union compensate their losses? No. Do you have examples to disprove that?

        • Derek February 9, 2022 (5:27 pm)

          Do scabs care though? They deliberately didn’t want to join the union. It’s on them. They made their own bed. Not sure what you’re on about? Other than being anti union in some contrarian way.

        • Rocket February 9, 2022 (9:10 pm)

          Sounds like these folks need to unionize and surely in their time of need we will stand with them. 

          • Roms February 10, 2022 (6:17 am)

            Here we go: Either one is pro union, or one isn’t. Aren’t there positions in between, with nuance? You say: “Sounds like these folks need to unionize and surely in their time of need we will stand with them.” How will you stand with them? In spirit? Will you strike too? And then again you make my point that if they must unionize to get your so-said support. Any example of this support? You also say: “They deliberately didn’t want to join the union. It’s on them. They made their own bed.” is actually quite a violent sentence towards non-unionized people, don’t you think? And it proves my point again.

        • Ivan Weiss February 10, 2022 (2:14 pm)

          I have been listening to the “unions work for themselves” argument since I was a kid in school in the 1950s. In fact, the effect of unionizing has been to raise wages and benefits, and improve working conditions, for workers everywhere, because the union jobs become more desirable, and employers have to compete to get good workers. This is so obvious it hardly needs more explanation. Good union contracts have beneficial ripple effects all over communities where they exist. To suggest they operate in a vacuum was a garbage argument when I first heard it, and it’s a garbage argument today. Thank goodness most workers who help rid us of garbage are Teamsters.

          • Roms February 10, 2022 (6:54 pm)

            “Union jobs become more desirable, and employers have to compete to get good workers. This is so obvious it hardly needs more explanation.” ==> You’re reducing how the market (for lack of a better word) works to one chain of value which simply doesn’t exist on its own. There’s a job pool. When the job pool is full and there’s unemployment, whatever unions do will not change the fact that there will be a competition towards the bottom, and not up. Now, when the job pool is not full and that there’s low unemployment, competition between employers to get the employees they need should raise wages. This is not driven by unions. This is driven by the market growth. (Note that it’s much more complex than that, gotta keep it short.)

        • Mark47n February 10, 2022 (5:16 pm)

          Not true. While unions work for the benefit of their members local non union shops have to compete for labor thus driving up wages and benefits in a region. In other words, regions that have a strong union presence tend to have better compensation that regions that are hostile to unions, such as ‘Right to Work’ states.

      • Pessoa February 9, 2022 (6:10 pm)

        cljskis: For you and your brethren, that is.  This may be a good thing, it may be bad for society, or vice versa.  American history is full of union victories where workplace conditions were improved; there are also many examples of union thuggery, too.  I’m not going to endorse a union simply because it’s a “union fight,” but look at the broader picture and determine who is being unreasonable.  

      • Pessoa February 9, 2022 (6:36 pm)

        Amazon doesn’t need to be unionized, it needs to be broken up.  Imagine a fully unionized Amazon workplace with highly paid union bosses making back door deals with Amazon management, such as agreeing to stifle competition, and other mutually beneficial “arrangements” and massive political contributions going to controversial causes or political parties   You think this doesn’t happen?  Please.  I was in a strike, reluctantly – on burn barrel duty – and before we knew it, our local had sold us out with a deal with the national.  That’s the real world, people, not warm and fuzzy “solidarity” talk. 

  • Peter February 9, 2022 (3:26 pm)

    This is not even remotely acceptable. The unions need to reimburse the taxpayers for the increased costs and time. The city should only be allowed to hire union contractors if there is a binding no strike provision in the contract. 

    • WSB February 9, 2022 (3:36 pm)

      The public entities aren’t the direct hiring entities here, according to technical details I didn’t go into. Constantine explained that while their contracts have language that would prevent something like this from happening, the contractors are the ones that deal with the suppliers and theirs apparently don’t. This is somewhat explained in the county news release linked above.

    • Derek February 9, 2022 (4:46 pm)

      Oh please. Why are you defending the managers and owners of the concrete company who aren’t paying fair wages??? Or good insurance?? Direct your anger at the real enemy! 

      • Gatewood resident February 9, 2022 (7:12 pm)

        This thread proves seattle politics are insane. The burn it all to the ground, employers are the “enemy” mindset is a good part of why our political climate is insufferable.

  • They February 9, 2022 (3:49 pm)

    Bad look…all parties…

    • John February 10, 2022 (5:09 am)

      Totally agree. Really shows how much of a mess the modern business world is

      • Melissa February 10, 2022 (11:59 am)

        Business is inherently messy. It was not, however, better in, say, the 1910’s, when factory owners could lock doors from the outside causing the deaths of the workers when fires occured, or the 1950’s, when white women made around half what white men made for the same work, or in the 1930’s when the practice of excluding domestic and service workers from the New Deal removed thousands and thousands of Black people from benefiting from it.  Which is to say, thank goodness for unions (many of which also have a racist history, mind you), and the bargaining process. A more robust bargaining process means a better outcome for business and workers, and a better outcome for the economy at large. 

  • Lisa February 9, 2022 (3:55 pm)

    LOL – I just placed a wager with my boyfriend  over the weekend that SOME excuse would come up for why the bridge wouldn’t be done on time. At least I’m not disappointed by this news (and maybe I’ll get $100 out of it).

    • John February 10, 2022 (5:08 am)

      Totally feel you there! Made a bet with an acquaintance of mine to pick up the check at Endolyne Joe’s if it’s actually open in mid-June. Looks like dinner is going to be on him lol

      • WSB February 10, 2022 (9:27 am)

        Just to be clear, there was never a mid-June projection. The contractual “substantial completion date” is June 30th. “Mid-year” is all that SDOT has long said.

  • drM February 9, 2022 (4:03 pm)

    When you hold a quarter of the city hostage, you start to really pee-off people. Be careful what you wish for. All those hooting and hollering for the unions, might do well to remember the stand-off between Boeing and the unions. And where is the Dreamliner now? Right now, the truckers are holding our economy hostage by blocking the Ambassador Bridge. I can guarantee you this will not end well for the truckers. Unions, pay attention.

    • CAM February 9, 2022 (4:22 pm)

      That situation in Ottawa is not about unions or union rights or a labor strike. Don’t conflate the two to be anti labor. 

      • drM February 9, 2022 (7:26 pm)

        My main point is you don’t hold people hostage and not expect blow-back. We are potentially being held hostage by cement protesters. No matter how you try and spin it, it will not end well. Moreover, the Canadian protests are gathering a hodge-pudge of anti-establishment groups, a very small group with a huge impact. Same in this case.

        • CAM February 9, 2022 (8:28 pm)

          No. You are not being held hostage by anything. Companies are refusing to negotiate with their employees and therefore those employees are saying that they won’t work until they are treated like sentient human beings. Your need to not drive 30 minutes out of the way does not trump someone else’s need to have a sustainable existence. And again, this has ABSOLUTELY NO resemblance to a bunch of right-wing groups protesting healthcare laws in another country. I know that protest (not a strike as you so rightly point out) has attracted many fringe groups. It also started with fringe groups. It is not related to their employment or provisions put in place by their employer. They are protesting laws put in place by two separate federal governments. Completely different than employees striking against their millionaire employers who won’t even speak to them. The employees don’t have the power in this system. Your government has gradually eroded your power and rights as employees more and more every year. This idea that unions are in control of anything or pulling the strings is ridiculous, said by a union member who pays my dues and shows up and votes and attends all the meetings and does everything you’re supposed to do. No matter what your employer can walk all over you and tell you to like it and no one will do anything about it. But go ahead and support them. I’m sure they’ll have your back next time. 

          • The Rog February 10, 2022 (6:52 am)

            EXACTLY! Thank you Cam.

        • shotinthefoot February 10, 2022 (11:22 am)

          if anyone is holding you hostage, it is the concrete COMPANIES not the WORKERS. Get it straight and stop bootlicking for capitalism. Without workers we are nothing. 

          • Pessoa February 10, 2022 (12:10 pm)

            I’ll take you and others seriously when you are consistent and don’t cherry pick which Americans get – and don’t get – your support.   

  • jissy February 9, 2022 (4:04 pm)

    Hmmmm, guess it all depends on your GC and if they can GSD, had my driveway poured just a couple weeks ago.

  • shotinthefoot February 9, 2022 (4:08 pm)

    Hey Gary Merlino – are you paying attention?!!! 

    • Jim February 10, 2022 (5:16 am)

      The guy owns like four houses in addition to his massive mansion on the West Seattle waterfront. Do you really think he cares?

  • wetone February 9, 2022 (5:42 pm)

    Total BS story that concrete strike will impact WS Highrise. The work being done involves very little concrete. It is most all epoxy injection and carbon fiber wrap/incasing being  majority of work. Highrise project is 99.9% political from start and now looks to continue that path. Social engineering at work. Should of never been closed to begin with. SDOT continues failing tax payers greatly with poor maintenance of infrastructure and elevated structures as there is little if any accountability………. Are  Dow and Bruce looking  to bust up Unions  now ? 

    • Gregk February 9, 2022 (6:47 pm)

      It worries me too.  I worry that our local politicians understand that many Building Trades Families cannot afford to live in King County, let alone City of Seattle.  These families are no longer their constituents.  It’s anecdotal, but I rarely meet anyone from WS on my jobsites.  

  • Mark B February 9, 2022 (5:44 pm)

    When was the concrete contract awarded? At a minimum, the contracting parties would have known the union contract was expiring or possibly expired. Seems like they took a calculated risk that may backfire. Or didn’t even consider possible labor disruption. 

    • John February 10, 2022 (5:17 am)

      I heard the contract expired like a year ago almost to the day or something like that. So they’ve been negotiating all this time

  • Dierdre February 9, 2022 (7:07 pm)

    Heather Marx says: the bridge work that’s in danger of getting delayed doesn’t even need that much concrete – 245 cubic yards (for reference, the average concrete truck carries about 9 yards)

    And then this: And even if the strike is resolved by then, Marx said, they have other logistics to deal with – typically the bigger jobs would be first in line, so they’re working to try to ensure that they will have access as soon as possible once this is resolved.

    What BIGGER jobs than repairing the Bridge?? 

    I get that other jobs may have a bigger order of concrete but in terms of a BIGGER  job, one would think the bridge might take priority.

    When it gets pushed back, they’ll have spare time on their hands and maybe they could start picking up the heaps of litter plaguing our beautiful city.

  • TJ February 9, 2022 (7:11 pm)

    The union needs to be held financially accountable for any extra costs from this. It’s a free market. They have the right to do whatever in bargaining, but if it affects contracts then they need to pay that. And someone mentioned unemployment for these workers. My understanding is they would not qualify for unemployment. If I am mistaken then that is a travesty and needs to be fixed. Workers choosing on their own not to work should not do so while on public assistance. The government should not subsidize their choice. The union should have a rainy day fund for these stoppages 

    • Gregk February 9, 2022 (7:54 pm)

      Many other trades which are not on strike have been laid off because the work cannot proceed on many jobs in the city.  Teamsters on strike cannot collect unemployment.  As to holding the workers financially responsible is wrong headed.  Pay a livable wage to a Union worker before it’s necessary to stop work and strike.  We are falling behind financially into a second caste.

    • Dom February 9, 2022 (8:44 pm)

      Striking workers receive unemployment compensation, they do receive strike pay from the union. Any penalties that need to be paid because of job delays are the responsibility of the parties signing the contract, in this case the companies failing to deliver concrete. Those companies have the option to deliver concrete, all they have to do is offer an acceptable contract to their employees. They chose not to, they pay the fines. Neither the union nor the employees are party to the contracts signed to deliver concrete, they are not liable for breaking the contract. Should be pretty obvious.

    • Rocket February 9, 2022 (9:14 pm)

      The owners are the ones responsible for the delay. So if financial recompense is due it is due from those refusing to negotiate in good faith and sitting on their profits to wait for the union to be bled dry. End the strike by offering a fair contract. 

    • Ivan Weiss February 10, 2022 (2:00 pm)

      There is no “free market,” any more than there is Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny, except to the most gullible of fools.

  • Rocket February 9, 2022 (8:58 pm)

    This West Seattle nurse stands 100% in solidarity with the concrete workers demanding a fair contract. Let the bridge wait 

  • Brian February 9, 2022 (10:17 pm)

    Solidarity means solidarity. Power to the worker whatever the cost. 

  • Hammer in Hand February 9, 2022 (10:40 pm)

    We had concrete poured Two weeks ago on a remodel project concrete came from south King County. while the mix they need maybe specialized as Ms. Marx stated. They could certainly go outside  the region and get it. It has do with they CAN’T because they are bound having to use union labor. Nothing against unions But Ms Marx please don’t use the “special mix” as an excuse for the really reason

    • Dom February 10, 2022 (12:20 am)

      Mixes like these need to be certified and are very specific. If all you’ve ever poured is 3000 psi concrete you really don’t know much about modern mix designs

      • Hammer in Hand February 11, 2022 (6:59 am)

        My point is on this project they are bound by only “union drivers” being able to delivery the concreteThat said the specialized mix is secondary. Let’s tell the facts as they are. 

  • Mj February 9, 2022 (10:40 pm)

    Gregk – $69 an hour inclusive of benefits on a government prevailing wage job is not peanuts, roughly $100k a year not including benefits that typically add about 30% for driver working for a year on a government prevailing wage job.

    • Dom February 10, 2022 (12:46 am)

      Ready-mix drivers are considered delivery and do not get prevailing wages outside of California and possibly MA

    • Gregk February 10, 2022 (9:00 am)

      Only in Union contract negotiations will you hear the total benefit package included in the hourly rate.  This is a tactic used by negotiators to convince the easily swayed that their package is commensurate with cost of living in the community.  In thread above, the veteran driver’s wife reports $37 per hour.  37 hourly wage × 40 hours × 52 weeks per year. = 76,960 before taxes.  Those are hard, cold, wet, and dangerous hours MJ.

      • Dom February 10, 2022 (12:47 pm)

        I’m not sure about other unions/locals, but at teamsters local 174 (representing the striking drivers in Seattle) we have access to our contract which clearly states wages on the paycheck as well as all other contributions that make up the total wage package. I’d also bet that the majority of people saying our wages are too high probably earn more than we do and are outraged that someone without a degree should make a living wage.

      • Look Both Ways February 10, 2022 (10:07 pm)

        Lots of details and work factors not included in these negotiations, and the nuances are important to a balanced conversation. I support employees fighting for their rights and/or challenging management if they’re treated unfairly. I also support market dynamics. For the sake of “prevailing wage” comparisons in Seattle:- Step 1 police officer (ie. lowest pay grade) = $83,640 [https://www.seattle.gov/police/police-jobs/salary-and-benefits#income]- Fire dept starting salary = $82,192 [https://www.seattle.gov/fire/jobs-and-opportunities/benefits]- Ironworker = $40/hr est. [https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Ironworker/Hourly_Rate/e0f790a2/Seattle-WA]- Water well driller = $68k+[https://www.salary.com/research/salary/posting/water-well-driller-salary/seattle-wa]All these jobs (including concrete drivers) are critical to society. Yet, the above examples are for perceivably more technical (and for fire & police, more stressful) positions. It seems the $37 – $69/hr range for the drivers is within the prevailing zone, comparably.

  • Jort February 10, 2022 (1:17 pm)

    Imagine siding with greedy big business corporate executives over honest workers just because your feelings are hurt about sitting in car traffic. Gross and sad.

  • Pessoa February 10, 2022 (9:30 pm)

    It is a fiction that unions always have the moral high ground in a labor dispute, the David versus Goliath scenario.  They certainly may, but when I look at the details of this dispute I’m not seeing anything outrageous in the company’s proposal.  Could the  company be more generous?  Maybe,  but its hard to see this as a case of union members being one step from being destitute if their demands aren’t met. There is a difference between supporting the intrinsic right of a group collectively to pursue their interests – which I fully support regardless of inconveniences –  and issuing  blank check support.  From personal experience in a disastrous strike, I know how hard it is for reasonableness to penetrate the insular, highly charged “us against them” mentality that is cultivated by union leadership.  

  • Ugh February 10, 2022 (10:53 pm)

    Please get back to work already. This bridge isn’t going to fix itself. 

  • Ivan Weiss February 11, 2022 (7:38 am)

    @Pessoa: Every time I ride over on the ferry and look at Gary Merlino’s palatial mansion complex on Brace Point, that’s all the “details” I have to look at on this issue to stand with the Teamsters, 100 percent. Pay them what they’re asking. The bridge can wait.

  • wetone February 11, 2022 (8:04 am)

    Interesting reading all this about people wanting live-able wages for this area. Today as past if you are a blue collar worker, strikes play a big part in having a sustainable wage package befitting all. City of Seattle and King co. pay packages (salary retirement benefits) for most all their blue collar workers are non sustainable for living in area. A true result of unionized workers that cannot strike per contract……… 

  • Zman February 11, 2022 (7:08 pm)

    Last I checked the city of Seattle has its own ready mix trucks and can batch at Miles in Everett or down south. Less then 90 minutes to site so concrete is  good on time and you work off hours as needed to address traffic. I would rather stoneway concrete build the bridge but several of these employees are locked in the office since the teamsters are screaming at them though a mega phone. 

    • WSB February 11, 2022 (7:17 pm)

      The city says they can’t go to Snohomish or Pierce counties as those there are acting “in solidarity” with the strikers here.

    • CAM February 12, 2022 (3:35 pm)

      All of your local and state government employees (except management) are union represented. I imagine the city has no intention of having their own workforce walkout if they choose to be union busters and hire scabs. 

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