Employers offer no movement on key issues and bring no new proposal to first bargaining session in months
Press Contact: Jamie Fleming Phone: (425) 281-0166 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
(TUKWILA, Wash.) — The strike by 330 Teamsters at six companies in the construction industry will be continuing after today’s failed mediation session yielded no progress. The rank-and-file bargaining committee and their Union representatives from Teamsters Local 174 arrived ready to make headway, armed with a willingness to talk through and work around key disagreements. The Employer representatives, however, did not. As a result, the meeting went nowhere and the two sides are no closer to an agreement that would put an end to the strike that has gone on for over two months now.
“I didn’t expect much going into today’s bargaining, but somehow they still found a way to disappoint us,” said Schuyler Brazier, a driver at Stoneway Concrete and member of the Teamster bargaining committee. “I figured they would at least try to convince the mediator they were here to make progress, and would pay some lip service towards movement on our big priorities, but they didn’t even bother making a proposal to put us back to work. It’s like they’re proud of how much this strike is hurting everyone, and they want it to go on as long as possible.”
“How do you spend months crying to the press about how mediation is the only way to end this strike, and then show up to mediation empty-handed and even more dug in than you were before?” asked Greg Estes, a driver at Cadman and another member of the bargaining committee. “What is the mediator even supposed to do with that? My expectations for today were at ground level, but they brought a shovel.”
With no movement from the Employers, the Teamsters are left with no option but to continue the strike that has left thousands of construction workers throughout the various trades laid off or facing layoff in the near future. Even the lead negotiators on the Teamsters’ side, who have decades of combined experience negotiating industry-leading contracts, were stunned by the Employers’ utter disregard for the process of conflict resolution and contract negotiation.
“I tried to prepare our members to not expect much today, because the Employers’ lead negotiator had been misleading the media and the construction contractors for the past 63 days by claiming the Union was unwilling to participate in mediation,” said Teamsters Local 174 Secretary-Treasurer Rick Hicks. “If this is some kind of game to them, they are going to lose, because our members will no longer be bullied by their Employers.”
“This is life-and-death serious to us,” Hicks continued. “Livelihoods are on the line for thousands of workers. This strike has so far cost two of our members their lives. Health insurance for hundreds of our members and their families will run out at the end of the month. How high does the cost of this strike need to go before these Companies start taking this seriously?”
No further negotiation sessions are planned and picket lines will remain active until a contract is reached.
Founded in 1909, Teamsters Local 174 represents 8,600 working men and women in Seattle and the surrounding areas. “Like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TeamstersLocal174.