A continuing construction worker strike in Seattle and Western Washington state headed into Labor Day weekend after a number of contractors signed individual agreements to return to work.
Crane operators and other members of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 302 went on strike Aug. 21, after a second rejection of a proposed master labor agreement with the Associated General Contractors of America. The strike has slowed or halted numerous construction projects across Western Washington, including Seattle, the city with the highest number of cranes in the U.S. at 65.
The union rejected a tentative agreement that included a 15.9% pay increase over three years, as well as a 13% increase in fringe benefits, according to the Seattle Times.
But a number of dirt, vertical, paving and crane contractors have signed an amended version of the proposed labor agreement plus additional financial compensation, according to Local 302’s website, with more meetings and ratification votes scheduled. Seattle-area contractors contacted by ENR either did not respond or declined to comment.
Exceptions to the strike include workers employed by Skanska, which operates under a separate collective bargaining agreement with a different expiration schedule, according to the union website. The separate agreements signed by contractors caused cranes to swing into action again Aug. 30 after more than a week of idling.
Construction projects across Western Washington state were reported halted or delayed due to the strike, including:
- Rainier Square, a 58-story office tower in downtown Seattle being built by developer Wright Runstad & Co. Amazon will be the tenant. It broke ground November 2017.
- A mixed-use renovation at the former home of the Seattle Times. Work on the two 41-story towers began in January by developer Omni Group.
- The Alexan 100, a mixed-use residential building with 164 units.
- Whatcom Community College Phyllis & Charles Self Learning Commons in Bellevue, Wash., plus a water main replacement project and roadwork in the waterfront district, according to the Bellingham Herald.
- All City of Tukwila road construction projects.
The Western Washington strike is one of a handful over the past two summers. A days-long strike hit Philadelphia in 2017 and ended just in time for the Fourth of July holiday, according to Curbed Philadelphia. Quebec had a weeklong strike in June that was deemed “illegal” by authorities; the strike, by crane operators, protested new training requirements, says the Canadian Press.