LANSING — Gov. Rick Snyder on Thursday afternoon announced that work will begin on Michigan’s road projects immediately now that the contractors’ association and operating engineers’ union agreed to continue working without a contract through the 2018 construction season.
“This is great news, and I appreciate that both sides were able to see how important the work they do is to the safety and quality of life for all Michiganders,” Snyder said. “The vital work of getting Michigan’s roads repaired should not have stalled, but the important thing now is that projects will be getting back on track. A long-term solution to the contract negotiations still needs to be worked out, but that can and should be done after this construction season is completed.”
The Governor’s meeting with the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association and Operating Engineers 324 earlier this week brought the two sides together and provided the catalyst for a short-term solution. Snyder and his team continued the outreach to both organizations and worked out the agreement reached today between MITA and OE324. The details of the agreement include:
- MITA will end the lockout on all projects
- The Operating Engineers will have their workers report to work immediately
- The priority for work will be for projects that can be completed prior to significant winter weather arriving
- Other projects will continue for as long as possible, including work to prepare them for safe winter travel if they cannot be completed
- Contractors and OE324 will use professional mediation through the winter to help them with negotiations for a new contract
“I understand the frustration this has caused, but our association has an important responsibility to our members who are committed to doing the best work they can to build and maintain Michigan’s infrastructure on behalf of taxpayers,” said Mike Nystrom, Executive Vice President and Secretary of MITA. “We appreciate the Governor’s commitment to resolving this issue in a satisfactory manner for both sides so we can get these road projects underway again. Our members will work with MDOT to get things wrapped up as quickly as possible and get lanes open again for motorists.”
“Our members are ready to get back on their machines and get these projects done across the state — and look forward to working again as soon as we can,” said Ken Dombrow, President of OE324. “We still have issues to work out and will represent the best interests of our members throughout those negotiations, as we always have. We appreciate Gov. Snyder’s willingness to not take sides and to remain focused on finding a way to get the work done. The operating engineers of Michigan have an important job to do and we’re happy that now they can start doing it again.”
The list of projects that can and cannot be finished prior to significant winter weather will be managed by the Michigan Department of Transportation.
MDOT will continue to review contract provisions related to completion dates, extensions for work, and possible financial penalties on a project-by-project basis, as is the standard procedure. The Governor also has directed the department to carefully monitor all projects and ensure a high level of quality is maintained despite an accelerated pace of work.