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Seattle construction halts as hundreds of concrete workers demand fair contract

More than 100 concrete workers demonstrated outside of Seattle's AGC Headquarters building on Wednesday morning, demanding better worker rights.

SEATTLE — More than 100 concrete workers demonstrated outside of Seattle's AGC Headquarters building Wednesday morning demanding better worker rights, as some head into their third month on strike.

"They're saying we don't want to get to the table and talk," said demonstrator Sean Stott, "That's simply not true. We [have been] trying to get to the table to talk for a couple of months. We have the owners of the company flying over to Italy for Christmas while we're out on strike."

Over 300 concrete workers have been on strike and workers said they want to go back.

"Trying to get talks, trying to get this resolved, we just want to get back to work," Stott said.

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Teamsters Local No. 174, the union representing workers, said construction companies are trying to force a package on workers that would be significantly less compared to what other construction workers are receiving. Wages, healthcare and retirement would decrease in compensation over the next three, when taking inflation into consideration.

A harsh impact of the strike is Seattle's halt on construction, with vital concrete workers on strike. However, a union spokesperson said workers' hands are tied.

"We don't want to be out here, this is miserable," said Jamie Fleming, director of communications and research for Teamsters Local No. 174. "This is not a fun time being on strike, we want this to be over as soon as possible and we are willing to do anything to get back to the table and make that happen."

The Washington State Department of Transportation, the city of Seattle and King County are warning if the strike continues, this could delay critical ongoing projects including the construction of roads, bridges, light rail guideways and more.

However, workers said they are just asking for equity and the same benefits other construction workers in the city are being offered.

"We have to fight for what's right, we have to fight for decent wages and decent living and the fact that they want to give us a lesser contract is just not right, it's just not happening," said Stott.

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