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Labor dispute over - road projects get underway immediately

Posted at 1:57 PM, Sep 27, 2018

The office of Governor Snyder announced on Thursday, Sept. 27 that the halt to the road projects in Michigan is over and projects will resume immediately.

“This is great news, and I appreciate that both sides were able to see how important the work they do is to the safety and quality of life for all Michiganders,” Snyder said. “The vital work of getting Michigan’s roads repaired should not have stalled, but the important thing now is that projects will be getting back on track. A long-term solution to the contract negotiations still needs to be worked out, but that can and should be done after this construction season is completed.”

He said that the contractor's association and operating engineers' union agreed to continue working without a contract for the remainder of the 2018 construction season.

Earlier this week the Governor held a meeting with the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association and Operating Engineers 324.

At that meeting, they couldn't come to a conclusion, however the governor is saying that bringing both sides together provided the catalyst for a short term solution. Both sides continued to communicate after the meeting and Thursday reached this agreement.

The details are: 
• MITA will end the lockout on all projects
• The Operating Engineers will have their workers report to work immediately
• The priority for work will be for projects that can be completed prior to significant winter weather arriving
• Other projects will continue for as long as possible, including work to prepare them for safe winter travel if they cannot be completed
• Contractors and OE324 will use professional mediation through the winter to help them with negotiations for a new contract

“I understand the frustration this has caused, but our association has an important responsibility to our members who are committed to doing the best work they can to build and maintain Michigan’s infrastructure on behalf of taxpayers,” said Mike Nystrom, Executive Vice President and Secretary of MITA. “We appreciate the Governor’s commitment to resolving this issue in a satisfactory manner for both sides so we can get these road projects underway again. Our members will work with MDOT to get things wrapped up as quickly as possible and get lanes open again for motorists.”

“Our members are ready to get back on their machines and get these projects done across the state — and look forward to working again as soon as we can,” said Ken Dombrow, President of OE324. “We still have issues to work out and will represent the best interests of our members throughout those negotiations, as we always have. We appreciate Gov. Snyder’s willingness to not take sides and to remain focused on finding a way to get the work done. The operating engineers of Michigan have an important job to do and we’re happy that now they can start doing it again.”

There may be projects that won't get finished prior to winter weather. Those projects will be managed by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT).

Gov. Snyder says that MDOT is to monitor all of the projects and make sure the work is of a high quality despite the shortened completion timeframe.