Hundreds of Michigan workers gather to discuss contract fight putting construction projects on hold

Workers attend meeting at Local 324 training center in Howell

HOWELL, Mich. - Members of the union for operating engineers gathered Tuesday at outposts across Michigan to discuss the contract fight they're in with the Michigan Infrastructure Transportation Association.

Until the fight is resolved, construction projects around the state will remain on hold.

Workers streamed in by the hundreds to the Local 324 training center in Howell to hear the latest on the work stoppage and the contract troubles with MITA.

MITA is a 40-member ownership group of contractors that has negotiated contracts with Local 324 for 80 years. Their current deal was up June 1, and negotiations have been ongoing all summer.

The union wants to deal with individual contractors, not the consortium, and has tried to work individual deals.

MITA dropped the hammer and is locking all Local 324 members out until union leadership returns to the bargaining table.

Both MITA and the union are pointing fingers at each other, claiming bad behavior by the other.

Meanwhile, the Michigan Department of Transportation is caught in the middle.

"Officials at MDOT take delays very seriously," an MDOT spokesperson said. "We're working very hard to alleviate congestion and the inconvenience to drivers, so, of course, we hope the two sides reach an agreement soon."

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