A full week after 86 Teamsters at CalPortland walked off the job and 208 other Teamsters in the sand and gravel industry prepared to do the same, everyone is now back to work after a deal was finally reached in the pre-dawn hours between Teamsters Local 174 and the five companies involved in bargaining. The contract was voted on by Local 174 members at CalPortland, Cadman, Stoneway Concrete, Salmon Bay Sand & Gravel, and Lehigh Cement at a 9:00AM meeting this morning. It was ratified by a 92% margin.
The four-year contract includes record-setting wage increases, increases in pension contributions, and full maintenance of benefits for healthcare over the entire length of the contract. Most importantly of all, it includes language that protects Teamster work in King County from being undercut by drivers brought in from outlying areas at lower wage rates.
“We are incredibly proud of the strength and dedication our members showed during this difficult process,” said Local 174 Secretary-Treasurer Rick Hicks. “A strike is hard on everyone involved, and our CalPortland members held the picket lines with courage and with patience. Without their sacrifice, we could never have gotten this incredible contract. They are an inspiration to us all.”
Members at CalPortland are glad to be going back to work, and they are proud of what they were able to accomplish through their outstanding teamwork on the picket line.
“Being on strike is no vacation. It’s seven days a week, constant anxiety, and it would have been a hell of a lot easier to just go to work and go home at the end of the day,” said CalPortland Teamster Mark Hislop. “But we are Teamsters. We don’t do what is easy – we do what is right. When our employer is disrespecting us, we stand up for ourselves. And there’s nothing better for building character, strength, and solidarity than standing together all day and all night with our Brothers and Sisters fighting for the things that are most important: our livelihoods and our families.”
Teamsters at the other four sand and gravel companies are also grateful for CalPortland Teamsters’ sacrifices on the strike line. “These guys led the charge,” said Cadman Teamster Dave McDowell. “We are indebted to them for that. Our families are indebted to them for that.”
The deal that has been agreed to was able to address and accomplish all of the major goals that Local 174 members identified prior to negotiations.
“This has been an uphill battle from Day One, but we got it done, just like we always manage to,” said Local 174 Director of Negotiations Patty Warren. “We got to where we needed to be, and we are happy that this has all been resolved.”
“We are proud to have reached yet another industry-leading and record-setting contract,” Local 174 Secretary-Treasurer Rick Hicks said about the new deal. “Local 174 has a reputation for getting the best contracts, but the only reason we are able to do that is because we have the best members. Our members in this industry have been rock solid since the very beginning, and have had complete trust in us and trust in the process. Through their strength, solidarity, and commitment to following through to the bitter end, we were able to reach a life-changing deal that will bring them the job security and economic rewards that they deserve for the hard work they do, day in and day out.”
Members in the industry are also incredibly thankful for the support they got from other Unions and organizations, especially those within the Building and Construction Trades whose work has been impacted by the CalPortland strike. Various organizations including the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the Iron Workers, the Operators, the Laborers, the Cement Masons, the Firefighters, the Sheet Metal Workers, the Carpenters, and more, delivered essential moral support, as well as bringing food and beverages to the CalPortland strike lines. Many of them even stood and held picket signs in support of their Teamster Brothers and Sisters.
“An injury to one is an injury to all,” an International Longshore and Warehouse Union member posted on the Teamsters Local 174 Facebook page, echoing an attitude that had been seen on the picket lines all week.
“There will always be those that say that going on strike doesn’t get you anything,” said CalPortland Teamster Mike Sparrow. “I think that this pretty clearly proves otherwise. We got a great deal, we got the respect we deserved, and we got the chance to prove once and for all that ‘rock solid’ isn’t just a motto – it’s a fact.”
Founded in 1909, Teamsters Local 174 represents 7,200 working men and women in the Seattle area. “Like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TeamstersLocal174.