Thousands of workers in the construction industry in Western Washington may go on strike as soon as this Thursday after over 5,000 Northwest Carpenter Union members democratically voted 56% in favor of rejecting a proposal from the Associated General Contractors and instead authorizing a strike.
This is the fourth proposal voted down by the membership.
According to a union representative, the strike could impact the construction of several construction projects including: the Microsoft Redmond campus project, the Bellevue Plaza project, The Microsoft Sammamish campus and the Madison-Boylston housing project.
To protect taxpayer investments, many project labor agreements prohibit strikes at certain construction projects, such as Climate Change Arena, the Port of Seattle, Sound Transit and Seattle Schools sites. These are not expected to be affected by the strike.
Carpenter union members working at these exempt sites must automatically provide at least two hours, or about 25% of their pay to a strike fund to help striking union members every day during the strike, according to a union statement.
“Being a union carpenter means the freedom to vote democratically to determine your own wages, benefits and future,” said Evelyn Shapiro, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of Northwest Carpenters Union . “Our members have been divided over this historic agreement and we do not take going on strike lightly. We must come together and build an agreement that will unite our membership.”
The rejected agreement would have included:
-A 20.4% wages and benefits increase over four years with pay increases retroactive to June 1, 2021.
-Increased employer contributions to health care and pension funds
-Stronger harassment and discrimination protections
-Expanded parking reimbursements near certain sites
-Increased employer contributions to training and apprenticeship programs