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Construction slowed by union strike

August 25, 2018

Members of the Local 302 Operating Engineers Union picket Thursday along Cedardale Road in Mount Vernon.

Some Skagit County construction projects slowed this week after workers belonging to the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 302 rejected a new contract.

The union went on strike at 6 a.m. Tuesday.

The union is made up of heavy equipment operators, mechanics and surveyors in the construction industry, and stationary engineers, who work in operations and maintenance in buildings and industrial complexes, according to the Washington State Labor Council.

That includes asphalt plant operators, which is proving problematic for several county projects.

In Mount Vernon, an overlay project on Second Street may be delayed, Public Works Director Esco Bell said.

Grinding on the street was set to be done next week, then paving the following week, he said.

The city is going ahead with the project, but the strike may affect the paving portion of the project, Bell said.

“On this project, (the strike) affects all folks who are associated with asphalt delivery,” he said.

Paving work scheduled to begin three days ago in Sedro-Woolley has also been delayed because of the strike, the city posted on its Facebook page.

County Engineer Paul Randall-Grutter said some elements of construction on the BNSF Railway overpass on Old Highway 99 north of Cook Road have been delayed.

Wages, hours and working conditions are the central issues of the labor dispute, according to the union’s website.

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