Several prominent construction projects on the Eastside were interrupted on Thursday Sept. 16 as the Northwest Carpenters Union began to strike.
Union members picketed in front of several construction sites including the Facebook “Building X” in Redmond, the Microsoft Campus in Redmond and “The Artise” project in downtown Bellevue.
The NW Carpenters Union voted in favor of initiating a strike following their rejection of Associated General Contractors of Washington tentative agreement which would have included a 20.4% wages and benefits increase over four years, 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 , and increased employer contributions to training and apprenticeship programs.
This is the fourth time the union has rejected the AGC’s offer, according to a statement from the union’s communications director, Jeanie-Marie Price.
John Lehman, who picketed in front of the Redmond construction site of the new Facebook building, said union members and the AGC definitely have “different expectations” about what a fair agreement would be as inflation continues to affect the cost of living in the region.
Director of Contract Administration for the NW Carpenters Union, Dan Hutchins, said union members expect better living wages, better healthcare and pensions. He said many union members cannot currently afford to live in the areas where they work, meaning brutal daily commutes and expensive parking fees, which they want the AGC to help pay for.
Hutchins said the AGC represents about 40 different contractors in the area. For the moment, it is unclear how many projects might be delayed in the region.
When asked how long union members are prepared to strike, Hutchins said “as long as it takes.”