Talks Fail, Michigan Road Builders Turn to Non-Union Operators

Michigan contractors’ association imposed a work stoppage when Operating Engineers pressed to negotiate new contracts with individual contractors

(September 27, 2018) UPDATE: The Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association and Operating Engineers Local 324 agreed to continue working without a contract through the 2018 construction season. The parties have agreed to mediation through the winter.

The Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association (MITA) says its contractors are now replacing union workers with non-union operators to restart roadwork after a meeting with the governor failed to break the labor standoff.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder met earlier Tuesday with officials from MITA and the Operating Engineers Local 324, which oversees the locked-out union workers, but was unable to broker a deal to break the stalemate that has stalled nearly 150 projects since after Labor Day.

When its five-year contract expired in June, Local 324 said it wanted to bargain with individual contractors, instead of MITA. MITA then imposed a work stoppage on Sept. 4.

“MDOT has notified contractors that, based on the information that MDOT currently has, the lockout is an action under the contractors’ control,” said MDOT spokesman Jeff Cranson. “Therefore, requests for extensions of time will be granted, but damages for not being complete on time will still be enforced per the terms of each contract.”

(more on MI labor stalemate . . . )