FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Mike Nystrom, Executive Vice President
August 31, 2018
MITA Comments on the Defensive Lockout of
Operating Engineers, Local 324
The following statement is from Michael Nystrom, executive vice president of the Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association (MITA), commenting on the union’s refusal to hold a single meeting to discuss a new contract.
“After refusing to hold a single meeting to discuss a new contract, which expired June 1, MITA has decided to hold a defensive lockout of Operating Engineers, Local 324 (OE). This is a result of the coercive, disruptive and unlawful activities the union has spearheaded against MITA contractors. Work will continue on some construction projects across the state, and may be halted on others. MITA has notified Michigan Department of Transportation Director Kirk Steudle of the potential impact to construction projects.
The lockout will end when the union ratifies the industry proposed contract. Under the contract that expired June 1, the average OE worker was earning $55.67 per hour in wages and benefits. MITA is advancing a new proposal to increase wages and benefits by $8 an hour or 14.4 percent over five years to $63.67 per hour.
Any assertion that this defensive lockout is a “layoff,” is an attempt to misconstrue the situation by leadership at the OE. The safety of Michigan residents and motorists is industry’s top concern, so we will prioritize shutting down job sites with the safety of drivers in mind.”
In addition to refusing to meet, Operating Engineers, Local 324 has engaged in a number of disruptive and coercive tactics, including:
- Not certifying registered apprentices for MITA represented contractors
- Redirecting and coercing employees away from MITA contractors
- Not providing additional operating engineer employees when requested by contractors
- Blocked the release of millions of dollars that have been paid by construction companies to cover the workers’ fringe benefits, threatening the benefits these employees have earned
- Self-authoring a new road agreement that was not negotiated with other parties and establishing it as the “only option to end this labor dispute”
- Initiated strike activity against select contractors
“MITA has done everything within its power to maintain labor peace and stability, however we’ve been forced into taking this action by the union. Getting these employees back to work is a top priority. We look forward to hearing from the union on any interest they may have to ending this lockout.”
MITA (www.thinkmita.org) is a statewide construction trade association that consists of more than 500 Michigan companies representing construction disciplines such as road and bridge, sewer and water, utility, railroad, excavation and specialty construction throughout the State of Michigan.
For more information or background on labor negotiations, go to: https://michiganinfrastructurelabornegotiations.com/