The Stand

In strike’s 6th week, Teamsters shut down Port of Everett

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Contribute to strike fund, visit picket lines to support striking concrete workers

 

The following is from Teamsters Local 174:

EVERETT (Jan. 12, 2022) — Striking concrete mixer drivers and plant workers employed by Lehigh Northwest Cement Company extended their picket line to the Port of Everett’s 55,000-ton bulk storage cement facility for three hours on Monday. Lehigh Northwest operates a giant storage dome and other distribution facilities at the port; the company distributes approximately half a million tons of cement throughout the greater Seattle region by truck and rail each year.

Monday morning’s picket line extension to the Port of Everett cement terminal shut down all operations at the port, which supports nearly $21 billion worth of U.S. exports annually. The Port of Everett is the second-largest export customs district in Washington state, and fifth-largest on the West Coast. Members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) who work at the port honored the Teamster members’ picket line and refused to work.

This is the sixth week of the general strike by more than 300 concrete mixer drivers and concrete plant workers at five concrete companies in the Seattle area. The workers began their strike on Dec. 3, 2021, to demand that the companies that control the concrete industry in the Seattle area stop violating federal labor laws that protect workers’ rights. After six weeks of the strike, Seattle’s $23 billion construction industry has begun to grind to a halt without concrete.

TAKE A STAND — You can support these striking workers by making a contribution to the Teamsters Local 174 Merlino Heavy Highway and Sand & Gravel / Cement Industries Striking Workers Assistance Fund. You can also make a check out to “Teamsters 174 Worker Assistance Fund” and send it to: Teamsters Local 174, 14675 Interurban Ave. S. Suite 303, Tukwila, WA, 98168.

You can also visit a picket line at the following locations:

Calportand
Seattle – 5900 West Marginal Way SW
Kenmore – 6425 NE 175th St
Snoqualmie – 5601 396th Dr SE

Cadman
Seattle – 5225 E Marginal Way S
Bellevue – 1701 130th Ave NE
Issaquah – 6600 230th Ave SE
Redmond – 18816 NE 80th St

Lehigh Cement
Seattle – 5225 E Marginal Way S

Stoneway
Seattle – 3803 E Marginal Way S
Renton – 915 Houser Way N

Merlino
Renton – 915 Houser Way N

“These giant, multinational construction companies are demanding that workers accept a package of wages, healthcare and retirement that would be a decrease in compensation over three years when you take inflation into account,” said Rick Hicks, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 174 in Seattle. “This package would also be significantly less than the compensation packages other construction workers in Seattle receive.”

The five concrete companies, all of which traditionally bargain new contracts with Local 174 together, are also refusing to fund a health care plan that could save workers thousands of dollars per year in retirement, even though Local 174’s concrete industry members have offered to cover any cost increases the company may incur.

The concrete/cement companies where members of Local 174 are on strike include the giant German construction company HeidelbergCement (operating under the Lehigh and Cadman brands in the Pacific Northwest), the Japanese-based Taiheiyo Cement, and two major regional companies that control the flow of concrete in Seattle (the city with the second-most construction cranes in the country). These companies service the region’s largest current construction projects, including:

  • Microsoft’s Redmond campus modernization
  • Renovation of Seattle’s waterfront
  • Sound Transit’s system expansion project
  • Sea-Tac Airport’s runway renovations

On Dec. 3, 2021, after six months of negotiations, Local 174 members were forced to strike after the companies refused to stop violating federal labor law by failing to bargain in good faith for a successor agreement.

The dramatically subpar demands have led industry insiders to speculate that the concrete companies, working with major national construction companies, have forced employees to strike in order to begin a multiyear effort to purge union workers from the Seattle construction industry.

Founded in 1909, Teamsters Local 174 represents 8,600 working men and women in Seattle and the surrounding areas. “Like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TeamstersLocal174.

 


PREVIOUSLY at The Stand:

Stop Grinch bosses from stealing Christmas for Teamsters families (Dec. 15)

AFL-CIO’s Fred Redmond visits Teamsters picket (Dec. 8)

Concrete solidarity: Strike grows in King County (Dec. 6)

Gary Merlino drivers’ ULP strike continues (Nov. 29)

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