Wash. Carpenters Strike Over Contract
SEATTLE (AP) _ Thousands of union carpenters in western and central Washington went on strike following the collapse of contract negotiations with the Associated General Contractors.
Picketing started Wednesday in Seattle, Tacoma, Everett, Bellingham and other cities, said Ole Olsen, a spokesman for the Northwest regional branch of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America.
An estimated 3,000 to 4,000 workers walked picket lines at roughly 125 job sites in the region, Olsen said. In all, more than 8,000 carpenters are covered by the contract, which expired May 31 but was extended twice.
The union said health care costs were a particular sticking point in the talks. Associated General Contractors local executive vice president Roland Dewhurst said he thought the contractors had made a fair proposal that ``covers the health care costs of the active employees.″
The strike halted work on a $72 million Everett Regional Special Events Center, among other projects. The arena is scheduled to open in September.
Work had been running ahead of schedule, ``which is very much in our favor at this point,″ said Kim Bedier, general manager of Global Spectrum, the company hired to manage the arena.