Northwest Union Carpenter members picket in front of the new Marysville civic center construction site on the sixth day of a regionwide union carpenter strike Wednesday. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Northwest Union Carpenter members picket in front of the new Marysville civic center construction site on the sixth day of a regionwide union carpenter strike Wednesday. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Union carpenters picket at Marysville and Everett projects

The Marysville Civic Center and an Everett Amazon building are among dozens of construction sites affected.

MARYSVILLE — Thousands of union carpenters across the region are heading into their third week on strike after rejecting a proposal from the Associated General Contractors of Washington.

“Right now, with inflation being what it is — the cost of housing, childcare … parking has gotten extremely, extremely expensive,” said John Lehman, Northwest Carpenters Union bargaining committee member and member of North Puget Sound Carpenters Local 70. “That’s something that’s coming directly out of our members’ pockets on a daily basis. And we are really, really wanting to get a fair contract that addresses the rising costs of those things.”

Dozens of Northwest Carpenters Union members picketed in front of the Marysville civic center construction site Wednesday. They represented those working on the project, as well as projects in Skagit and Whatcom counties, Lehman said.

Gloria Hirashima, chief administrative officer for the city of Marysville, said the city has no comment on the strike. About 100 union members work at the site, said Jeanie-Marie Price, Northwest Carpenters Union communications director.

The city’s nearly $50 million civic center is slated to open early next year.

Since the strike began Sept. 16, union members have picketed at job sites across the greater Seattle area, including an Amazon project in Everett, according to a carpenters union news release.

The picketing came to a halt Friday, after the union received reports of “altercations, threats of violence, illegal picketing activity, harassment of union members walking on sanctioned picket lines, and threats of legal actions from multiple employers regarding wildcat strikes.”

But the strike will continue, and picketing may resume Monday.

A rendering of the proposed Marysville civic center. (City of Marysville)

A rendering of the proposed Marysville civic center. (City of Marysville)

More than 5,000 union members participated in the vote that rejected the proposal from AGC, and authorized a strike. About 44% voted in favor of accepting the AGC’s offer, but the majority — 56% — voted no.

The proposal included a 20% raise over four years, the addition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a holiday, and increases in health and pension contributions.

“The AGC of Washington is disappointed and perplexed the union is proceeding with this strike following such a robust and competitive package offer,” the AGC said in a Sept. 16 statement.

Union members were surveyed during the course of the bargaining process in aim to best address their needs, Price said.

Lehman said because of increased costs of living, workers are having to commute longer distances.

“You have a couple-hour commute potentially each way every day, and then on top of it, you have that added cost of parking. And so it’s just getting extremely expensive, and it’s pushing our members farther and farther out of the communities that they’re working in and trying to build.”

This is the fourth proposal that’s been voted down by the membership since bargaining began.

Union members will continue to strike until the union comes to a “fair agreement” with the AGC, Price said.

“I think it’s really important for the general public to understand that this line of work is extremely hard on someone’s body,” Lehman said. “You do this for 20 to 25 years — somebody could be really physically beat up. And we want our members to be able to retire with dignity, and have a pension there. We want our members to have access to great health care. And so that’s why it’s so important to us to negotiate good contracts for our membership.”

Isabella Breda: 425-339-3192; Twitter: @BredaIsabella.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Students arriving off the bus get in line to score some waffles during a free pancake and waffle breakfast at Lowell Elementary School on Friday, May 26, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
800 free pancakes at Everett’s Lowell Elementary feed the masses

The annual breakfast was started to connect the community and the school, as well as to get people to interact.

Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring speaks at the groundbreaking event for the I-5/SR 529 Interchange project on Tuesday, May 23, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
$123M project starting on Highway 529 interchange, I-5 HOV lane

A reader wondered why the highway had a lane closure despite not seeing work done. Crews were waiting on the weather.

Justin Bell was convicted earlier this month of first-degree assault for a December 2017 shooting outside a Value Village in Everett. (Caleb Hutton / Herald file)
Court: Snohomish County jurors’ opaque masks didn’t taint verdict

During the pandemic, Justin Bell, 32, went on trial for a shooting. Bell claims his right to an impartial jury was violated.

Gary Fontes uprights a tree that fell over in front of The Fontes Manor — a miniature handmade bed and breakfast — on Friday, May 12, 2023, at his home near Silver Lake in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Everett’s mini-Frank Lloyd Wright builds neighborhood of extra tiny homes

A tiny lighthouse, a spooky mansion and more: Gary Fontes’ miniature world of architectural wonders is one-twelfth the size of real life.

Will Steffener
Inslee appoints Steffener as Superior Court judge

Attorney Will Steffener will replace Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Janice Ellis, who is retiring in June.

News logo for use with stories about Mill Creek in Snohomish County, WA.
Police: Mill Creek man fatally stabbed wife amid financial woes

After quitting his job at Amazon, the man amassed about $50,000 in debt, triggering a discussion about finances, he told police.

Outside of the current Evergreen Recovery Centers' housing to treat opioid-dependent moms with their kids on Thursday, May 25, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
$8M in behavioral health grants to benefit children, youth, families

Snohomish County awarded one-time federal funding to five projects that will reach at least 440 new people each year.

Cooper Cummings from the United States celebrates after winning a men's downhill during the Cheese Rolling contest at Cooper's Hill in Brockworth, Gloucestershire, Monday May 29, 2023. The Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake is an annual event where participants race down the 200-yard (180 m) long hill chasing a wheel of double gloucester cheese. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Arlington High School grad is the big cheese after winning UK race

Cooper Cummings, who grew up in Lake Stevens, defeated a world record-holder in Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling and Wake.

Marysville firefighters respond to a 12-year-old boy who fell down a well Tuesday May 30, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Photo provided by Marysville Fire District)
Marysville firefighters save boy who fell 20 feet into well

The 12-year-old child held himself up by grabbing on to a plastic pipe while firefighters worked to save him.

Most Read