Talks between construction companies and 15,000 striking Chicago-area union workers are set to restart on July 19 after negotiations to end the nearly three-week-old stalemate failed to produce a resolution. The strike, which began June 29, is by Local 150 of the operating engineers’ union and the Laborers’ District Council of Chicago. Their three-year contracts’ expired on May 31. Workers seek a 15% wage hike over three years and a 5% increase in health benefit contributions to offset health-care costs rising 10% to 12% per year. The Mid-America Regional Bargaining Association, which represents contractor employers, originally offered a 3.25% hike
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.