As you should know, industry (MITA) has reached out to the Operating Engineers, Local 324 (OE 324) numerous times over the past several months in an attempt to initiate contract discussions. To date, the union has refused to meet, and now the union has initiated a strike against a MITA contractor and has used a host of other tactics to disrupt work for other involved contractors.
Because of this action, a significant segment of the signatory (union) road building industry has voted to stand together as a unified front against these coercive actions by the union and the union’s refusal to negotiate and has initiated a defensive lockout of all OE 324 employees who are working under the expired MITA Road Agreement. This means that these companies are expected to lockout all OE 324 road employees beginning Tuesday, September 4, 2018 at 7:00 am.
This action will obviously have a significant impact on road construction projects across the state and may affect many contractors involved in those projects. This lockout with the OE 324 (Road) employees does not mean that all projects will be shutdown immediately. Work by and with other trades can continue on projects until such time that constructive progress can no longer be made with the labor involved. In fact, some projects may continue without significant disruption.
If other trades, such as the Laborers, are willing to cross the picket line, companies can keep working so long as work is available. It is even acceptable for other trades and/or non-union employees to operate equipment during the OE 324 work stoppage as long as they are paid at the operator rate while operating equipment.
Remember, the MITA/OE 324 Underground Contract and NMAs are still in effect. OE 324 workers working on underground or NMA projects should continue business as usual. You should notify MITA immediately if pickets appear at underground projects or NMA sites and/or underground or NMA operators fail to appear for work.
Michigan law does not allow for employees who are on strike or who are locked out to receive unemployment benefits, therefore, all OE 324 employees who are affected by this work stoppage are ineligible for unemployment benefits. Other trades, such as Laborers, who are willing to cross the picket line, but are unable to work due to lack of work, are eligible for unemployment benefits during the work stoppage.
Notification has been sent to MDOT and a bulletin will be sent to the entire MITA membership in order to help protect your company rights through the MDOT specifications.
If the union does in fact set up some sort of “picket” or “walk” line on your job site or even at your yard or shop, please take pictures and document all activities, as it may be vital to future challenges.
Finally, continue to encourage ALL of your employees to visit michiganinfrastructurelabornegotiations.com for the latest facts and updates.
If you have any questions, please contact Mike Nystrom, Executive Vice President/Secretary at email@example.com or by calling (517) 896-1493.