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Concrete Workers on Strike for Six Weeks Extend Lines to Woodinville and Smith Island
(SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash.) – At 7:00 a.m. PST, striking concrete mixer drivers and plant workers employed by the Cadman Cement Company extended their picket line to two Cadman-owned plants in Woodinville and Smith Island, Wash. Cadman is owned by the German conglomerate HeidelbergCement and is one of the five concrete companies in the Seattle area that over 300 members of Teamsters Local 174 have been on strike against for six weeks.
Due to the extensions this morning, numerous planned concrete pours did not happen.
The workers began their strike on December 3, 2021 to demand that the companies that control the concrete industry in the Seattle area stop violating federal labor laws that protect workers’ rights. After six weeks of the strike, Seattle’s $23 billion construction industry has begun to grind to a halt without concrete. Cadman shut down operations after this morning’s picket line extensions arrived at their facilities.
“These giant, multinational construction companies are demanding that workers accept a package of wages, healthcare and retirement that would be a decrease in compensation over three years when you take inflation into account,” said Rick Hicks, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 174 in Seattle. “This package would also be significantly less than the compensation packages other construction workers in Seattle receive.”
The five concrete companies, all of which traditionally bargain new contracts with Teamsters Local 174 together, are also refusing to fund a health care plan that could save workers thousands of dollars per year in retirement, even though Local 174’s concrete industry members have offered to cover any cost increases the company may incur.
The concrete/cement companies where members of Local 174 are on strike include the giant German construction company HeidelbergCement (operating under the Lehigh and Cadman brands in the Pacific Northwest), the Japanese-based Taiheiyo Cement, and two major regional companies that control the flow of concrete in Seattle (the city with the second-most construction cranes in the country). These companies service the region’s largest current construction projects, including:
- Microsoft’s Redmond campus modernization
- Renovation of Seattle’s waterfront
- Sound Transit’s system expansion project
- Sea-Tac Airport’s runway renovations
On December 3, 2021, after six months of negotiations, Local 174 members were forced to strike after the companies refused to stop violating federal labor law by failing to bargain in good faith for a successor agreement.
The dramatically subpar demands have led industry insiders to speculate that the concrete companies, working with major national construction companies, have forced employees to strike in order to begin a multiyear effort to purge union workers from the Seattle construction industry.
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.