Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » *** UPDATED x1 *** IDOT chief says strike halting projects, threatens aggregate companies with suspending contract awards, changing mix designs
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*** UPDATED x1 *** IDOT chief says strike halting projects, threatens aggregate companies with suspending contract awards, changing mix designs

Thursday, Jun 30, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Vulcan Materials Co. is one of the three gravel and aggregate companies hit by the Local 150 strike

June 30, 2022

Mr. Chad Groff
Vice President/General Manager Vulcan Materials Company

Dear Mr. Groff:

The ongoing strike has brought many of our projects to a halt, with more projects shutting down by the day. This strike has already negatively impacted several significant improvement projects, including the Jane Byrne Interchange reconstruction in the heart of Chicago and of our entire expressway system, the Interstate 55 and Weber Road interchange, the Interstate 80 bridge in Joliet as well as numerous resurfacing projects throughout northeast Illinois and Chicago.

The timing of the work stoppage could not occur at a worse time, at the height of construction season and during peak driving season with an eager public ready to travel after two years of a pandemic.

With these stoppages, the strike puts in jeopardy the state’s ability to deliver on the governor’s promise to modernize infrastructure, make capital and community investments and create jobs through Rebuild Illinois, the largest capital program in our state’s history and the first in nearly a decade. Additionally, the passage of the federal Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act late last year has Illinois poised to increase these investments to our transportation system and in our communities.

At this time, the Illinois Department of Transportation has no choice but to act in the best interests of the state and our taxpayers. This includes the possibilities of suspending awards from the June letting and revisiting whether to go forward with the upcoming July letting. It should be noted that the department reserves the right to explore using alternative mix designs to ensure the continuity of our projects. The department will not bear any responsibility or cost for increased expenses experienced because of the strike.

The workers of IUOE Local 150 have played a critical role in revitalizing our state’s infrastructure, stepping up to continue working on our job sites as essential workers throughout the pandemic. With the best interests of the state in mind, we call on management to bargain in good faith and offer the wages and protections the workers deserve. We urge the parties to come to a fair resolution without delay.

Omer M. Osman, P.E.

I’ve asked the Chicago Area Aggregate Producers Association for a response.

*** UPDATE *** Chicago Area Aggregate Producers Association…

We appreciate and share the interest that the Illinois Department of Transportation has in seeing IUOE Local 150 end its strike. The Association initiated discussions well ahead of the contract’s expiration date in an effort to prevent disruption to the construction season. We remain committed to a fair, mutually agreeable and economically sustainable resolution to the matters under discussion. It is important to remember that the union is on strike. Our companies’ gates are open, and we are eager for our employees to return to work.

* Local 150 release from earlier today…

Today, the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 called on employers to commit to negotiating toward a resolution to a three-week strike that is impacting construction projects across Northern Illinois. Local 150 went on strike against material producers Lehigh Hanson, Vulcan Materials and Lafarge Holcim on June 7th over unfair labor practices the companies committed against their employees. The union has offered to meet anywhere at any time, day or night, weekends and holidays included.

On Tuesday, Local 150 presented the employers a comprehensive proposal on all remaining language and economic issues, and after a brief session on Wednesday, employers left negotiations without committing to any additional dates.

As the strike has gone on, reduced supply of materials has halted construction projects across northern Illinois and resulted in layoffs and project completion delays.

IUOE Local 150 President-Business Manager James M. Sweeney issued the following statement:

    This strike can only be resolved through negotiations with the companies, and they are simply not bargaining in good faith at this time. Every day, more companies are running out of material, more projects are being delayed, and more workers are being laid off as a result.

    We are again calling on these employers to get back to the table. We will meet them any time – days, nights, weekends or holidays. We have made progress when we have gotten them to the table, but far too much is riding on these negotiations for the employers to stall them.

    Our urgency is not only about working toward a resolution for our members, but in getting laid-off workers back on the job, helping construction businesses get the materials they need, and completing the critical projects that municipalities across the state are now putting on hold.

    Our message is simple: get back to the table or send someone who has the will and the authority to bargain in good faith toward a resolution.


  1. - Huh? - Thursday, Jun 30, 22 @ 3:23 pm:

    Six weeks late. Puts the contractors in a bind. Puts them on notice that there won’t be any time extensions or price adjustments due to the strike.

  2. - Chicago 20 - Thursday, Jun 30, 22 @ 3:29 pm:

    It’s not about the money.
    “Ed Maher, communications director for Local 150, said the strike was called not over pay, but over unilateral changes the companies have implemented on other issues, such as time off procedures for exposure to COVID-19. The union has filed several complaints with the National Labor Relations Board alleging unfair labor practices by the companies.”

  3. - ElTacoBandito - Thursday, Jun 30, 22 @ 3:33 pm:

    Well this has Sweeney’s fingerprints all over it.

  4. - NorthWoods - Thursday, Jun 30, 22 @ 3:45 pm:

    Seems like 150 tried to take a little too big of bite out of the apple this time and the Multi Nationals are sick of it. Strikes do effect a lot of things but they are also part of the process with organized labor and the state needs to let this play out and not make threats. 150 should have thought a little longer before taking their members out in the current economy.

  5. - Huh? - Thursday, Jun 30, 22 @ 4:06 pm:

    Northwoods - I think the operator contract expired in April. What were they supposed to do, work without a contract during the height of the construction season?

  6. - NorthWoods - Thursday, Jun 30, 22 @ 4:13 pm:

    Huh? Unions have at times worked several months after an expired contract when the parties can’t come to an agreement. Usually once it is settled, the pay is retroactive back to the expiration date.

  7. - Joe Schmoe - Thursday, Jun 30, 22 @ 4:13 pm:

    150 could have played this out a long time ago. Now their members are screaming because they aren’t getting the overtime to buy that new refrigerator and jet ski.

  8. - Huh? - Thursday, Jun 30, 22 @ 4:34 pm:

    So the operator 150 members are supposed to work while the quarries bring in scab operators.

    Yep. Got it.

    Nope. Not me. My union will honor their strike line.

  9. - Illinikid - Thursday, Jun 30, 22 @ 5:04 pm:

    H&H Stone, the closest quarry to Weber Road and I55 is locally owned operation that has an excavators contract with 150 so it has not stopped running. It also has a concrete plant across the street that gets material in off-road trucks right from the quarry. Switch mix designs to the that plant and move on, bad example to use, although it may cause an issue with mismatching concrete that can’t be a serious concern right now.

  10. - Huh? - Thursday, Jun 30, 22 @ 5:15 pm:

    Illini - depending on the size of the concrete pour, mix can come out of multiple plants.

    Once a mix design is approved, as long as a plant uses the approved recipe, the concrete is indistinguishable.

  11. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jun 30, 22 @ 6:42 pm:

    So how can Sweeney be on the Tollway board since he has so many conflicts of interest?

  12. - The Fifth Deputy Governor - Thursday, Jun 30, 22 @ 7:01 pm:

    Lot of arm chair labor experts in this comment section.

  13. - Illini Dad - Friday, Jul 1, 22 @ 9:01 am:

    Just wait until Local 150 comes down to Springfield to make these quarry operators fall under prevailing wage. Let the circus begin.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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