Still no deal struck between Teamsters, CalPortland

Mediated negotiations between Teamsters Local 174 and several sand and gravel companies broke down Tuesday. Still no deal has been reached.

At a Wednesday morning Teamsters meeting, the rest of the nearly 300 Teamsters in the sand and gravel industry said they are prepared to join the 68 CalPortland employees that first went on an unfair labor practice strike Friday.

“[T]he drivers are absolutely ready to join CalPortland on strike to protest the various Unfair Labor Practices their employers have committed at the bargaining table,” read a Teamsters’ press release. 

Teamsters allege that the five sand and gravel companies in negotiations with the union refuse to bargain in good faith, refuse to provide information necessary for bargaining and reject proposals without explanation or counter-offer, which has made it “impossible for the Union to reach any sort of deal,” according to the release.

“As we have said again and again, you cannot reach a deal with someone who isn’t willing to actually negotiate with you,” Teamsters Local 174 Director of Negotiations Patty Warren said in the release. “By the end of the day, the best they were willing to do was to propose the same offer that our members had already unanimously refused to even vote on. That is not bargaining in good faith.”

CalPortalnd insists that it has and will continue with “its good faith efforts to cooperate with Local 174’s requests for relevant information,” according to a CalPortland press release. The company maintains that the Teamsters’ “false accusations … regarding the company being in violation of federal labor law and failing to bargain in good faith are unfounded, without merit, and have detracted from the bargaining process.”

On Tuesday, CalPortland said the employers returned to the bargaining table “with a strong expectation of reaching a contract agreement,” according to its release.

“Employers presented an increase of its previous offer on the increase of wages, pension and maintenance of benefits,” the CalPortland release reads.

Its offer includes a 12 percent increase over a three-year period, “which is the best offer ever made by CalPortland in King County,” according to the release.

“The Employers were emphatic regarding their strong desire to achieve a deal as was expressed several times throughout the negotiations,” the release reads. “Local 174, however, summarily rejected this offer and remained entrenched in a much higher demand that was unprecedented and viewed by the Employers as an unsustainable path forward for both parties.”

CalPortland’s offer, however, is the same one made earlier in negotiations, Local 174 spokesperson Jamie Fleming said.

“When they say they made an offer, they did,” Fleming said. “They made the same offer that had been turned down by the membership, so they didn’t really make a new offer.”

When Teamsters went back to the negotiating table Tuesday, they gave the five companies — CalPortland, Stoneway, Salmon Bay Sand & Gravel, Cadman and Lehigh Cement — a revised proposal that contained a 26 percent reduction from the previous union proposal, according to Fleming.

Come 5:10 p.m. Tuesday, a deal had not been reached.

“We saw absolutely no change in behavior at the bargaining table,” Local 174 Secretary-Treasurer Rick Hicks said in a press release. “CalPortland has been shut down for almost a week, and they all knew that if they didn’t start resolving some of these Unfair Labor Practices, the rest of them would be following in CalPortland’s footsteps. And yet still, we got the exact same refusal to budge on any proposals, refusal to explain their position, and refusal to provide us with information that might justify their approach. … They are leaving us with no other choices here.”

Negotiations began July 17.