Following nine hours of negotiations on July 19, Chicago contractors and unions reached a tentative three-year agreement on wages and health-care benefits to end a three-week strike.

The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 and Chicago-area Laborers’ District Council reached a settlement with owners’ representative Mid-America Regional Bargaining Association (MARBA) that includes a 3.25% annual wage increase and health-care benefits for three years.

The unions originally sought annual increases of 5.3% for three years. A Local 150 press release said the pact means pickets would be “taken down immediately.”

“It was a difficult negotiation with good results,” Lissa Christman, MARBA spokeswoman says. The owners claimed in a press release that the unions' gains were the smallest in 10 years.

“It was adifficult negotiationwith good results.”
— Lissa Christman, spokeswoman, MARBA

The deal follows a July 16 announcement by the Illinois Tollway that it would begin suspending work on several major roadway improvement projects if agreement were not reached by July 22.

Since the strike began on July 1, an estimated 15,000 Chicago-area construction workers have been affected and 300 Illinois Dept. of Transportation projects delayed.

The strike affected several large projects, including road and bridge repairs on Edens Spur (I-94), the Veterans Memorial Tollway (I-355) and the Tri-State Tollway (I-294)/Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88) interchange, the Eisenhower Expressway and an $87.7-million high school renovation project in Naperville, Ill.