Crane operators, surveyors, and other construction workers who have been on strike for 17 days on construction sites throughout western Washington may be going back to work. The Associated General Contractors of Washington, which represents most contractors throughout the region, said it has reached a tentative deal with the International Union of Operating Engineers who also confirmed the agreement.
The contract still has to be approved by union members, and would end a labor dispute that started simmering back in May. Two prior deals reached by union and management leaders were voted down by the union which started the strike on August 21 that idled 65 cranes across the area.
The tentative deal includes a total pay and benefits increase of 17.8 percent over three years, up from the 15 percent bump that had been rejected by union members last month, and an initial offer of 13.1 percent in July, according to a copy of the deal provided by the general contractors group.The deal is a master labor agreement covering all of Western Washington. Workers on the outer edges of Western Washington, where the cost of living is lower, will receive a total 16 percent increase.
The strike’s length puts it somewhere in the middle of recent construction work stoppages. Last year, concrete drivers walked off the job but reached a deal a week later. In 2016, window installers went on strike for about three weeks. In 2003, a local carpenters union struck for 9 days.