Sen. Hertel Jr. introduces resolution to end involuntary layoffs

LANSING, Mich. — Senate Democrats today called on Gov. Snyder to intervene in the road construction lockout across the state. Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr. (D-East Lansing) introduced a resolution demanding that the governor continue to meet with all parties and facilitate talks, so work on Michigan roads can be completed before winter. The resolution also calls on the governor to have the Michigan Department of Transportation impose fines on contractors who are not completing projects by agreed-upon deadlines.

“These hardworking men and women have been keeping their nose to the grindstone, working to improve our infrastructure all summer long despite having no contract,” Sen. Hertel said. “Now they’re being repaid for their labor with involuntary layoffs because contractors won’t agree to a contract that works for the very people who get the job done. Gov. Snyder needs to exercise the power of the executive office to bring about a fair resolution.”

The Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association (MITA) and its affiliates initiated an involuntary layoff for Operating Engineers 324 (OE 324) members on Sept. 4, bringing road projects across the state to a halt. Senate Democrats were compelled to draft the resolution after Gov. Snyder repeatedly failed to broker an agreement and it was announced that non-union workers will be used until a deal is reached. The governor has even gone so far as to suggest calling in the National Guard to finish the work instead of finding a solution that allows the skilled, able and willing members of OE 324 to do their jobs.

“Time is not on our side, and these jobs have to get done before construction season is over and our roads are ruined even further,” Sen. Hertel said. “The mere fact that the work stoppage has gone on for almost a month, with no resolution in sight, highlights the dysfunction in this administration and its lack of commitment to the skilled workers who build our state.”

###