As every MITA member should be aware, the industry (MITA and its’ road building contractors) ended the defensive lockout of all Operating Engineers, Local 324 (OE 324) members last Thursday, September 27th, and agreed to go back to work. The industry agreed to end the lockout after of a series of meetings facilitated by Governor Snyder brought MITA and OE 324 together and provided the catalyst for a short-term solution. Under the terms of the agreement, MITA agreed to end the lockout and OE 324 agreed to have their members report to work immediately.
In communicating with your employees as you get back to work, please let them know that this lockout ended because both sides have agreed to mediation in order to attempt to hammer out a new contract.
MITA offers the following guidance as you get back to work on MDOT let projects:
• If you are not back to work on all of your projects delayed by the lockout, you should make every effort to get back to work on those projects as soon as possible.
• When requested by your Engineer, we suggest you submit an updated progress schedule. If your critical path was delayed by the lockout and it continues to be delayed due to the ongoing labor dispute with OE 324, make sure your progress schedule shows these delays on the updated critical path. Although the lockout of OE 324 has ended and contractors are back to work, project schedules are still experiencing “real” delays due to the disruptive tactics and actions of OE 324 (i.e., not accepting fringes, not sending out operators when requested, not certifying apprentices, coercing operators to leave certain contractors, etc.).
• As you develop your updated progress schedule, and actually get back to work in the field, we encourage you to demonstrate your best efforts possible to get projects completed yet this season or in a condition where they can be safely buttoned-up for the coming winter season.
• MITA suggests you maintain an ongoing dialogue with your Engineer to make sure he/she understands the commitments and efforts you are making in getting back to work and making whatever constructive progress you can make on each project.
• For MITA POA contractors we suggest that you continue to fulfill your employer obligation by sending in your OE 324 employee fringe benefits to the OE 324 Fringe Benefits Office to meet any and all prevailing wage requirements.
However, as you submit your OE 324 employee fringe benefits, exclude the vacation contribution which is taxable and should be paid on the employee’s weekly check. If the OE 324 Fringe Benefits Office returns your fringe benefit contributions treat and/or hold those returned contributions just as you have your June, July and August returned contributions. MITA continues to research qualified distribution options and will forward any new information as it becomes available.
• For contractors who previously submitted a Notice of Intent to File Claim as guided in MITA’s September 26, 2018, bulletin titled, “UPDATE – Responding to MDOT’s Denial of Request for Time Extension w/o Liquidated Damages”, it is suggested that no contractor immediately submit their claim for time extension without liquidated damages.
PLEASE BE PATIENT!
MITA is aware that MDOT leadership and their Attorney General representative are engaged in internal discussions about potential changes to the Standard Specifications for Construction regarding the timing for filing a claim.
MITA continues to have conversations with MDOT leadership and legal counsel about the contract situations resulting from the OE 324 lockout and ongoing labor dispute and the guidance given herein and will immediately notify all members of any changes and/or additions to our guidance.
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.