Impasse over road work continues; MITA mulls non-union options

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder says he was unable to end an unprecedented impasse between road builders and a union of heavy equipment operators that has disrupted hundreds of state construction projects, including major work on Interstates 75 and 696 in the Detroit area. (It also has affected projects on US-131 in Kent County and other projects in Ottawa County.)

Snyder met with both sides in his Lansing office Tuesday but reported no progress, saying he is "not happy." He says he likely will warn them of unspecified consequences of their failure to make progress.

He might call up the National Guard for "critical" projects — not necessarily to do typical construction but rather to "button up or get some in a better spot than they are today."

Snyder says his office is exploring legal options but notes federal labor law is a factor.

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On Tuesday night, Mike Nystrom confirmed to FOX 17 that MITA (Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association) is considering the possibility of using non-union workers to complete the jobs. Nystrom is executive vice-president of MITA, the organization representing the contractors.

"We've been kind of using (non-union workers) right along. We're not bringing in what the union might say is opposed to them. We might be putting in management or other companies that are non-union over there in West Michigan, who are offering up their employees...we might be bringing folks in from out of state."

And that's not all, says Nystrom. "More conversations have been held with the National Guard...they're looking to see what they can supply."

And because there was no resolution Tuesday, "our contractors are more unified than ever...we're just going to have to get it done without Operating Engineers Local 324."

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FOX 17's James Gemmell contributed the bottom portion of this article.

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4 comments

  • working

    this is so hard for people to understand. The Union, Union members have not walked of any of the jobs that are in limbo. MITA and the EMPLOYERS have. when the contract expired in june. many union members fall back on the old contract as default until a new one is agreed on. MITA represents more non union employers the union. thus why the union wont talk to them. So MITA tried to force feed the industry their own version of a contract. In order to do that they terminated to old one creating a limbo for their employees. so by terminating the old one it became illegal to accept payments and they are in danger of losing their coverage. So now the employers are stopping work when every operator wants to work. and not our crappy snyder wants to pay to do it for them. o ya that 8 dollars is also not all payroll, it includes insurance cost that have skyrocketed in the last few years…

  • Bear

    The work stoppage is mita decision all along. The operators want to and are willing to work. This is just their way of using cheap unskilled workers in their place

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