LANSING, Mich. — The war of words between Local 324 Operating Engineers and the Michigan Infrastucture & Transportation Association (MITA) is not letting up, and several big road projects around the state remain stalled as a result.
Governor Rick Snyder’s office called the contract standoff “unacceptable.”
The work stoppage kicked into gear right on September 4. The previous pact expired in June.
On Thursday, Operating Engineers 324 requested a “direct meeting” with Governor Snyder to end what it says is MITA’s “involuntary layoff of road builders across the state.” In a news release, the union accuses the Governor and MITA of reneging on an agreement to get workers back on the job, “endangering hundreds of projects across Michigan.”
MITA executive vice president Mike Nystrom countered that with statement of his own iun a news release : “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 says the two sides were asked to meet in the governor’s office this past Monday, “and both parties met separately with the governor’s team, but no form of an agreement was ever finalized.”
But Operating Engineers 324 says “MITA refused the agreement after the meeting. The governor’s office then reneged on the agreement and are now demanding a host of MITA-imposed conditions. These conditions include OE 324 agreeing that contractors can continue to give jobs for highly trained road builders away to less-skilled, less-qualified workers, including those brought in from other states. They also want OE324 to accept fringe benefit payments effective immediately, even though that would be a clear violation of federal law.”