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Governor Rick Snyder threatens to bring in National Gaurd as labor dispute continues

Governor Rick Snyder is calling on contractors and road building unions to settle their differences and get back to work, as 150 road projects are currently at a standstill in the state of Michigan.

A spokesman for Gov. Rick Snyder says road contractors and labor leaders have agreed to meet with him next week to try to end a contract dispute that has suspended projects across Michigan.

     The development Friday came a day after Snyder said he might call up the National Guard to operate heavy equipment. Union workers were locked out Sept. 4 after working without a contract for weeks. The union says it wants to negotiate with individual contractors, not the Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association.

For the past two weeks the Operating Engineers 324 union and the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association (MITA), which represents contractors, have been involved in a standoff over negotiations on state highway projects. Most recently, the MITA instituted a lockout of union workers at more than 150 road projects statewide that have now had little to no progress.

“This is a terrible situation and the drivers of Michigan need both sides to sit down and resolve their differences soon, so they can get back to work,” Snyder said. “This is an unprecedented work stoppage at a time when we are providing historic levels of funding for road and bridge projects in Michigan. I’m sure most Michiganders would agree with me that this makes no sense and the parties involved need to get serious about resolving their differences.”

Dan McKernan is a spokesman for Local 324 of the Operating Engineers. He says the union respects National Guard members but doesn't believe they have expertise in highway construction..

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