Operating Engineers 324 shares Governor’s frustration with involuntary layoffs
MITA’s behavior prompts Governor to request state investigation
BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP – Today, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder expressed frustration with the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association (MITA) directed layoffs that have ground road construction work in the state to a standstill. Operating Engineers 324 (OE324) echoed this frustration, and hopes that contractors will end the lay offs and return the workers to the vital task of fixing Michigan’s roads.
Contractors represented by MITA elected to shut down job sites and send Operating Engineers 324 members home starting September 4. OE324 has asserted that it does not constitute a “labor dispute,” and participating contractors should be subject to significant fines and penalties as projects exceed their deadlines.
“As there is no contract in place, and there have not nor will be negotiations between Operating Engineers 324 and MITA, there is nothing in dispute,” said OE324 spokesperson Dan McKernan. “Operating Engineers 324 has not threatened action against the contractors, and have taken no aggressive or hostile actions, including strikes or slow-downs.”
While the Governor stopped short of assigning blame, OE324 feels confident that any resulting legislative action and public inquiry will show that the situation has not been caused, or exacerbated, by the union.
Operating Engineer 324 members worked throughout the summer to complete road projects without a contract, and intended to continue to do so. The state of our crumbling infrastructure has long been cited as the number one concern to Michigan’s residents. Because of this, as well as to support their families, Operating Engineers 324 members continued to work on every single project around the state. It has long been OE324’s contention that the contract issues are a priority, but completing the work of rebuilding Michigan’s roads was of the utmost importance and therefore, must continue.
“The state is frustrated, and rightfully so, that road construction has stopped, but that is a choice that has been made by each and every one of these layoff-participating contractors,” said Douglas Stockwell, Business Manager and General Vice-President of Operating Engineers 324. “Our members worked all summer, and were prepared to continue working for the foreseeable future. They know the value of these jobs to their families, and of the work done for the state.”
“We continue to expect these workers to be called back to work immediately, and for the state and MDOT to hold the contractors accountable for everyday they are not.”