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Seattle, Washington – Carpenters in the Seattle area have approved a new contract with their employers following a nearly three-week strike that slowed construction across the region and exposed divisions within the union’s 12,000 members.
The Northwest Carpenters Union reported Monday evening that its members voted in favor of the deal by a margin of about 54 percent to 46 percent.
Western Washington union members went on strike Sept. 16 and returned to work last week following the union’s tentative agreement with the Association of General Contractors of Washington.
The most recent contract agreement was the fifth tentative agreement presented to members for approval by union leadership. Members voted 56 percent to 44 percent in September to reject the previous deal and authorize the strike.
Those who voted “no” cited rising living costs and demanded higher wage increases. Carpenter wages today range between $46.92 and $48.42 per hour. According to the union, the latest agreement will result in a $2.26 annual wage increase.
Additionally, carpenters have requested increased reimbursement for parking near job sites. The new agreement increases hourly parking rates in certain areas of Seattle from $1 to $1.50 and includes a new $1.50 parking benefit in Bellevue beginning in 2022.
The most recent proposal included a $13.25 increase in total pay and benefits over four years. The new offer included a monthly payment of $10.02 for three years. Both positions paid approximately $3.30 per year in salary and benefits.
The first strike Western Washington in nearly two decades came on the heels of recent walkouts by other construction workers, including crane operators, truck drivers, and glaziers the past few years.
The AGC, which represents carpenters’ employers, expressed disappointment that the strike began despite its “strong package. According to an AGC representative, the group will comment on Tuesday morning.