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Rieth-Riley strike stops several Mid-Michigan road construction projects

Posted at 8:10 PM, Aug 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-01 21:39:28-04

LANSING, Mich. — Road construction projects across the state have come to a sudden stop.

That's because hundreds of workers have walked off the job and are now on strike at asphalt producer Rieth-Riley.

Ingham County Road Commission says work on the unpaved roads like Lake Lansing Road and Towner Road in Meridian Township have been halted.

"The plan was to resume with preparing the roads and paving them before school started here in late August, but with the Rieth-Riley labor dispute there will be an indefinite hold on that," said Bill Conklin, the managing director.

Ingham contracts Rieth-Riley for asphalt.

As of Wednesday, 200 crucial Rieth-Riley employees went on strike claiming unfair labor practices.

"We want to keep impact to motorists to a minimum," said Union 324 Communications Director, Dan McKernan. "We are motorists and taxpayers ourselves so that does matter to us that being said there's no way to completely avoid it."

Now, the road commission is trying to figure out what they can do with their unpaved roads in the mean time.

"The road department will work to keep those road maintained to maintain local access during the work stoppage," said Conklin.

The strike is not only holding up work on Towner Road and Lake Lansing road, but also delaying the beginning of milling and resurfacing roads in several other parts of the county.

"Work on Central Park Drive from Okemos Road to Grand River and Newman road cant even be started until Rieth-Riley resumes operations," said Conklin.

Ingham County says if the strike continues into the fall, the work might have to be deferred to spring.

"We may have to discuss alternative means to getting those done whether its the second lowest bidder or another contractor," explained Conklin.

The Jackson county road commission says it will see road work delays during the strike.

Rieth-Riley says it has offered workers a fair compensation plan,, but claims the union is refusing to negotiate a fair deal.

The next round of negotiations isn't scheduled until October.

The union hopes to sit down with the company sometime before then.

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