NewsGetting Around Metro Detroit


What is the reason for the Michigan road construction work stoppage?

Posted at 6:25 PM, Sep 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-26 19:56:02-04

The Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association locked out union workers from Michigan road construction job sites on Sept. 4. Work on Michigan roads has been stopped now for more than three weeks.

This week, job postings are up on offering workers airfare, mileage, and hotel coverage if they take on the jobs.

"There is no reason anyone would have to look anywhere else to find workers. They are here," said Dan McKernan, spokesperson for Operating Engineers Local 324. "They are willing to go back to work anytime."

So where do negotiations stand?

“The governor’s office has asked us to maintain a radio silence,” McKernan said.

WXYZ has learned it is not your typical labor dispute when you look at what it is not about. 

It is not about money. It is not about contract terms.

The union has said it reached out to construction contractors, working to negotiate with them. Contractors have told the union to continue to negotiate with the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association or MITA. It is an organization that represents more than 500 companies.

The union has complained that MITA has lobbied against unions and has become so large that negotiations aren't fair. It wants to know whether there are anti-trust violations. 

“The union doesn’t want to negotiate with the association. It wants to negotiate with individual contractors. It thinks the association is anti-union,” said Dr. Marick Masters, director of Labor at Wayne State University.

MITA says it is simply representing the interests of contractors.