Chesterton Tribune

Local 150 ratifies new agreements with two contractor groups

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Members of Operating Engineers Local 150 have ratified new contracts, tentatively reached with the Northwest Indiana Contractors Association and the Four County Highway Contractors Association on June 28.

On Sunday, the membership voted “overwhelmingly” to accept the new contracts, Local 150 said in a statement released on Monday. “The agreements worked out to approximately 3.1 percent annually for three years. All money went to cover benefit costs and there was no increase in wages on the check.”

A vote is scheduled on Thursday to ratify the new agreement with the third employers’ group, the Indiana Constructors Association.

“Local 150 members are glad to have covered the costs to maintain their healthcare and benefits,” said Local 150 President-Business Manager James Sweeney. “This is a difficult economy and construction workers feel that more than anyone, so we were not going after rich wage increases. This was about benefits and our members are happy to be back to work with a good contract.”

Local 150 struck the Northwest Indiana Contractors Association on Thursday, June 9, then extended the strike to regional asphalt plants on Monday, June 13, effectively bringing all roadwork –including that in Downtown Chesterton—to a halt.

Two weeks later, on Monday, June 27, the Chesterton Utility Service Board voted to declare the Downtown an emergency; to terminate its contract with Rieth-Riley, the general contractor on the Downtown job; and to hire Rock Solid Paving & Excavating of St. John to re-surface South Calumet Road between West Indiana Ave. and the Norfolk-Southern grade-crossing.

One day later, on Tuesday, June 28, Local 150 settled its strike.

Local 150 represents more than 23,000 workers in Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa in a variety of industries, including construction, construction material production, concrete pumping, steel mill service, slag production, and public works.


 Posted 7/13/2011