Construction Workers on Strike

June 1, 2006

Construction workers went on strike in Chicago and the collar counties today.

Negotiations between area contractors, and the Construction and General Laborers' District Council of
Chicago and Vicinity started a month ago, and broke off Tuesday.

State and local officials are preparing for the impact of the strike.

Illinois Department of Transportation spokesman Mike Claffey says the state has about 200 projects in the six-county area.

"Many of those, as many as 150, will come to a halt during the strike," he says. "Our hope certainly is the sides will quickly come to an agreement, settle their differences, and come up with a contract that is fair and equitable and meets everyone's needs."

Claffey says a strike should not stop construction on the Dan Ryan Expressway, as long as it's short.

That's because workers for the main contractor are not on strike, even though workers for some subcontractors are.

Chicago city officials say the strike will temporarily halt work on the expansion of O'Hare airport.

The association representing contractors says it's offering workers a 5.3 percent raise a year, and no cuts to current pension or benefit levels.

The union could not be reached for comment.