Concrete Truck Driver Strike That Slowed Seattle Construction Ends With Labor Deal

celebrating Teamsters
Teamsters Local 174

The strike by Seattle concrete delivery truck drivers that slowed construction projects across King County, Washington, is coming to an end following a labor agreement reached Aug. 18.

More than a quarter of King County’s union concrete truck drivers had walked off the job a week ago, and the rest were getting ready to join them.

Projects including the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement in downtown Seattle were stuck without concrete during the busy construction season.

On Aug. 18, the local Teamsters union representing the 300 drivers said it has reached a deal with the five cement suppliers that employ the workers. Union spokeswoman Jamie Fleming said 92% of drivers voted to ratify the new contract.

“The concrete industry in Seattle will be back to normal very shortly,” Fleming said.

The companies involved in the negotiations confirmed the deal and said it would be good news for their employees.

The Teamsters said the new 4-year contract includes “record-setting wage increases,” as well as increased benefits. Terms were not disclosed, though Fleming said the pay increases go beyond the employers’ three-year, 12% pay increase offer made earlier in the week. The drivers currently make about $31 an hour, on average.

The union members had been working without a contract since the start of August.

Drivers for CalPortland walked off the job on Aug. 11. Drivers for the other four companies — Salmon Bay Sand & Gravel, Stoneway, Lehigh Cement and Cadman — said they were ready to strike, as well.

A spokesman for CalPortland said its drivers are expected to return to work on Saturday.

The strike had threatened to slow Seattle’s record construction boom — 74 major projects are underway now in downtown Seattle alone.

Crews working on a tunnel to replace the viaduct along the Seattle waterfront have been stuck without needed concrete during the strike, although other types of work have continued, according to Seattle Tunnel Partners, the contractor for the project.

Before the deal was reached, officials said it was too soon to know how the strike would affect the overall budget and schedule for the tunnel project.

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