Carpenters in western Washington continued striking a week after they initially began withholding work, with no end to the stoppage in sight.

About 2,000 members of the Northwest Carpenters Union have been off their jobs since Sept. 16, with hundreds picketing each day after members voted for the fourth time to reject a tentative contract. As of Sept. 23, the union was holding picket lines at 18 jobsites and no new negotiations with employers had been scheduled.

The strike has halted work at several large project sites in Seattle as well as at Microsoft’s main campus in Redmond, Wash.

The Associated General Contractors of Washington said in a statement it was “disappointed and perplexed the union is proceeding with this strike following such a robust and competitive package offer.”

The tentative agreement had included a 20.4% total package of wages and benefits increase over four years retroactive to June 1, 2021, as well as increased employer contributions to health care and pensions, added protections against harassment and discrimination, larger employer contributions for training and apprenticeship programs, the addition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a recognized holiday and more parking reimbursement.

But Evelyn Shapiro, union executive secretary treasurer previously told ENR that many union members wanted more compensation for working in areas including Seattle and Bellevue, where they face higher parking costs and must spend more on gas because rising housing costs have forced many to have to live two or three hours away.

She added that union leadership was focused on speaking with members who rejected the contract — 56% voted against it on Sept. 11 — and building a consensus before returning to negotiations.

No-strike clauses have allowed work to continue at some of the larger projects in the area, including work for Seattle Public Schools, Sound Transit, the Port of Seattle and the city’s future National Hockey League arena, which is scheduled to host a large concert on Oct. 22.

Still, the AGC of Washington warned union members that an ongoing strike could increase regional construction costs, pushing developers to other markets and leading to fewer carpenter hours in the long term.