April 2017 br>Fighting the Aftermath of Funding Sweeps
by David Fagan, Financial Secretary –
As we move into the work season, there has been a tremendous amount of uncertainty. Some of that uncertainty is still outstanding. Some of it has been resolved. The Indiana office negotiates over 140 different agreements, including the 4 County, 10 County, 14 County, Michiana Builders, NWI Contractors Association, Stevenson Agreement and Michiana Builders Independent Agreement.
As many of you know, this year will be the first time in 70 years that we’ve had to negotiate these various construction agreements without a prevailing wage law in Indiana. Without such a law, contractors from throughout the country could bid on public works projects and be successful only because they provide their employees with little or no benefits and lower wages.
Therefore, we started working early on various Heavy & Highway Agreements in Indiana. On February 26th, a contract ratification vote was taken at the District 6 and 7 Halls. The membership working under those agreements unanimously ratified a five-year contract. These contracts lock in and protect various terms and conditions and include no serious change in language. In addition, for the 4 County and the 4 County section of the 14 County, we negotiated wages equal to and greater than those that we achieved three years ago during the strike. On the 10 County Agreement and 10 County section of 14 County Agreement, all years also have economics exceeding what was negotiated three years ago during the strike.
The ratification of all Heavy & Highway Agreements in Indiana will now allow us to concentrate our resources on the building contract as well as other areas of Local 150’s jurisdiction, as we enter into negotiations on Master Construction Agreements throughout in almost every District.
On another note, there is the continued effort by Local 150 to secure long-term sustainable infrastructure. As you may recall, we used resources that the members committed to the Fight Back Fund to run a campaign in support of sustainable funding when no one was talking about infrastructure. That effort generated an additional $800 million dollars for roads throughout Indiana but was not sustainable in nature.
We continue to work with the legislature in Indiana in the current session to promote $1.2 billion dollars a year in sustainable funding. We will continue the effort through the end of this current legislative session and if we are successful, we should see significant investment in infrastructure over the next 20 years that far exceeds what we’ve seen in the past.