Seattle-area crane operators strike following rejection of sellout deal
24 August 2018
Seattle-area construction crane and heavy equipment operators, surveyors, stationary engineers, concrete pumpers, material hoisters, and lay pavers struck the Associated General Contractors (AGC) on Tuesday after rejecting a tentative agreement between International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 302 and management by a vote of 64 to 36 percent.
Earlier this month, the construction workers rejected the AGC offer of a 15.9 percent hike for three years along with a 13 percent rise in medical and pension benefits. The rejection of the offer followed the spurning of a previous offer in July by a tally of 67 to 33 percent. Management’s offer was a pay hike of only 14.9 percent and a 9.2 percent increase for benefits. The striking workers currently have an hourly base pay range of only $37.70 to $43.13.
The strike is impacting all members of Local 302 in western Washington state working under the Washington Master Labor Agreement. The walkout by crane operators will stall many construction projects, since the hoisting of materials is critical to many aspects of the building process.
The last contract expired in June and provided for a 6 percent pay increase spread over four years. The workers are covered under a project labor agreement with the AGC. Project labor agreements that cover all workers on a project are favored by some employers because they guarantee a steady supply of labor and are protected by no-strike clauses.
The Seattle area has been in a construction boom with the development of Amazon, Google, Facebook, and other high-tech and biotech enterprises. Seattle proper for the last three years has held the record for the highest number of cranes in…