The road workers lock-out heated up this afternoon, Thursday, September 20th, when Mike Nystrom, Executive Vice President of the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association -- MITA -- rebuked what he termed a false media statement issued by Operating Engineers Local 324 claiming that an agreement had been reached with Gov. Rick Snyder's office early this week. That statement also claimed that MITA had rejected the plan to put road workers back on the job.
On June 1st, the contract between MITA member companies and Operating Engineers Local 324 expired. Nystrom issued his own statement today, saying:
“Today the leaders of OE 324, Doug Stockwell and Ken Dombrow, issued a statement to the media falsely claiming that MITA rejected an agreement Monday negotiated by the Governor’s Office to put OE 324 members back to work. Unfortunately for OE 324 members and motorists who are waiting for the industry to get back to work fixing Michigan’s roads, these supposed leaders have flat out lied and are proving to be as dishonest and no more trustworthy than their predecessor, John Hamilton."
Nystrom adds, "The truth is that MITA and OE 324 were asked to meet with the Governor’s Office Monday in an attempt to start some sort of talks. Both parties met separately with the Governor’s team, but no form of an agreement was ever finalized. Discussions continued between the Governor’s Office and OE 324 throughout the week in an effort to set up some form of a mediation session, which was scheduled for Friday, Sept. 21. OE 324 has now walked away and continues to refuse to meet to even start real and productive talks, just as they have all summer long. Instead of coming to the table for talks, Mr. Stockwell and Mr. Dombrow continue to collect their paychecks and enjoy their fringe benefits while their members continue to wait for a new contract while receiving no pay and no benefits, and Michigan motorists continue to drive on some of the worst roads in the nation."
Nystrom's statement concludes: "MITA member companies are more unified than ever, and I will say it again: This defensive lockout will end as soon as the union ratifies the industry-proposed contract. The industry will work with the Governor’s Office and MDOT in order to make progress on as many road projects as possible with available workers who are qualified to safely operate the equipment needed to complete a quality project.”
MITA is a statewide construction trade association of more than 500 Michigan companies representing construction disciplines such as road and bridge, sewer and water, utility, railroad, excavation and specialty construction throughout the State of Michigan.
For more information or background on labor negotiations, you can visit online at the link below: