The Herald-News reports Talks fail – Illinois construction strike drags on

Monday’s negotiations failed to produce a settlement between striking union laborers and operating engineers and their employers.

Jim Sweeney, president and business manager of International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150, said he was ” … tremendously disappointed at the employers’ lack of urgency.”

Mish Translation: Local 150 wants employers to quickly cave into obscene union demands

“We are asking the employers to share the burden with us,” Sweeney said.

Mish Translation:

This is what sharing the burden really looks like.

A press release issued Monday night by MARBA said the unions “… have been unwilling to come to the table with a proposal that is in line with the state of the industry and the economy.”

The strike has stopped a wide variety of projects in nine Chicagoland area counties. Will County projects affected by the strike include the new Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox, 159th Street work in Lockport and the Route 59 widening through Shorewood, Joliet and Plainfield.

What’s MARBA?

Inquiring minds are reading About MARBA.

Formed in 1971, the Mid-America Regional Bargaining Association (MARBA) is a multi-employer association focused on collective bargaining in the construction industry. It brings together various contractor associations in the Metropolitan Chicago region for the purpose of unified labor relations.

MARBA recruits industry experts to serve in the leadership roles during negotiations. These individuals are usually one of the leading employers in the particular craft for which MARBA is negotiating. MARBA stabilizes the construction industry by unifying contractors and providing them with a strong, single voice to handle union relations.

Negotiating twenty-one separate collective bargaining agreements with ten unions is just one aspect of MARBA’s services to its members.

MARBA Press Release

I happen to have a copy of a document from MARBA that shows who is really holding up contract negotiations. Here goes.

A Sense of Urgency

The union accuses employers of having “no sense of urgency”. The Collective Bargaining Association points out why.

  • Unions are asking for a 4.55% raise per year for 3 years
  • The Operating Engineers’ medical plan covers 100% of most medical expenses with no deductible or co-payment and the maximum deductible for anything is $300.
  • The Laborers’ plan covers 100% of the first $10,000. After that, members are responsible for a mere $200 per calendar year deductible per person ($400 per family).

Tom Nordeen, Chairman of MARBA says “These are the kind of benefits many would envy

I think that is quite an understatement, don’t you? Yet greedy unions are holding out for obscene pay hikes on top of those benefits.

Gall of Jim Sweeney, President of Local 150

Jim Sweeney, president and business manager of International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 has the gall to talk about “Shared Sacrifice”.

What You Can Do About It

If you are in Chicago, stuck in construction-zone traffic, looking for where to place the blame, please blame the unions.

Better yet, if you want to do something about this, do not vote for any candidate who wins a union endorsement. In general that means boot Governor Quinn out of office and his Democrat cronies right along with him.

Not in Illinois?

No problem, just do the same thing in your state: Do not vote for any candidate beholden to public unions and do not vote for any candidate who thinks raising taxes is the solution to the problem of union arrogance and greed.

By the way ….
Want to know one reason medical costs are soaring?

Look how union employees have absolutely no incentive to hold down costs. They do not care what medication costs or how many tests are done. Those with high deductibles are less prone to do needless tests and more prone to use generics. Taxpayers foot the bill for this extravagance twice, once in insane salaries and pensions, the second in rising health care costs.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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