Operating Engineers Local 150 and the contractors groups less than 48 hours
after the Town of Chesterton said, in effect, “Enough of this nolse,” to
settle the strike.
Tuesday—“after nearly six hours of negotiations”—Local 150 announced
tentative agreements with all three contractors groups: the Northwest
Indiana Contractors Association, representing building construction
employers in the region; the Four County Highway Contractors Group, whose
membership includes the former general contractor for the Downtown utility
project, Rieth-Riley; and the Indiana Constructors Association.
The details of
those agreements were not released.
under these agreements will be able to return to work as soon as their
employers contact them to come back,” Local 150 said. “A formal ratification
meeting date will be set in the near future for members to formally vote on
settlements will allow work to resume immediately on all road, bridge,
highway, building, and other construction projects across 14 counties that
have been affected by the strike,” Local 150 noted.
“We are very
pleased to have come to terms that will put everyone back to work,” Local
150 President-Business Manager James Sweeney said. “We look forward to
continuing the positive partnership we have with our contractors into the
future. Going on a strike is never a simple decision, but through their
solidarity, the members of Local 150 protected benefits that took decades to
achieve. I am proud of the strength that they showed through this trying
time for themselves and their families.”
Local 150 called
the strike on June 9. Initially only members employed by firms represented
by the Northwest Indiana Contractors Association walked off but on June 13
the picket line was extended to all asphalt plants in the region.
in the region stopped dead and the Town of Chesterton was left with a couple
of blocks of South Calumet Road in need only of paving in order to close the
book on the Downtown utility project.
Two weeks later,
at 8 a.m. Monday, the Utility Service Board—impatient with a lack of
progress in negotiations, with no end in sight to the strike and Downtown
businesses withering on the vine—cut the Gordian knot, by voting to declare
the Downtown an emergency, then to terminate Rieth-Riley’s contract, and
finally to retain the services of Rock Solid Paving & Excavating of St.
of those votes, Rock Solid was laying asphalt.
Today Rock Solid
was paving the alley immediately south of Datagraphic Printing & Copying and
grinding the tie-in points at the Norfolk Southern grade-crossing, Broadway,
and West Indiana Ave., Town Engineer Mark O’Dell told the Chesterton
Tribune. On Thursday Rock Solid will lay the final surface coat of
asphalt. On Friday thermo-plastic striping will be applied to the roadway.
“Sometime in the
afternoon” South Cal should be re-opened to traffic, O’Dell said.