Effective immediately, the industry (MITA and its’ road building contractors) will end the defensive lockout of all International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 324 (OE 234) employees and go back to work.
This end of the almost month-long lockout comes after a week of meetings initiated and facilitated by Governor Snyder to attempt to end the lockout and get road construction projects back underway around the state.
The road building industry/MITA recognized the Governor’s moral obligation to intercede and agreed to end the lockout and get back to work as soon as possible. The Governor’s social concerns were focused on the safety of the driving public related to Michigan’s winter season driving conditions near or on the numerous unfinished road construction projects.
The Governor’s meetings with MITA and OE 324 earlier this week brought the two sides together and provided the catalyst for a short-term solution. The Governor and his team continued the outreach to both organizations and worked out the agreement reached today between MITA and OE 324. The details of the agreement include:
· MITA will end the lockout on all projects
· OE 324 will have their members report to work immediately
· The priority for work will be for projects that can be completed prior to significant winter weather arriving
· Other projects will continue for as long as possible, including work to prepare them for safe winter travel if they cannot be completed
· Contractors and OE 324 will use professional mediation through the winter to help them with negotiations for a new contract
In communicating with your employees, please let them know that this lockout has ended because both sides have agreed to mediation in order to attempt to hammer out a new contract.
As this situation relates to Davis-Bacon certified payroll compliance, MITA is in the process of pursuing qualified options and believes that the industry will be given flexibility during this review process. Therefore, it is suggested that all contractors continue to submit the fringe benefits to the OE 324 fringe benefits office, and if those contributions are returned, hold the money until further guidance is provided.
MITA is also engaged in high level discussions with MDOT leadership concerning penalties that may be assessed related to extensions of time due to this labor dispute and firmly believes that significant progress has been made on this front. However, if you encounter push-back at the project level, please make sure to contact the MITA office.
If you have any questions please contact Mike Nystrom, Executive Vice President, at 517-896-1493, or Glenn Bukoski, Vice President of Engineering Services, at 517-256-0741.