Carpenters union, local contractors settle strike

Projects in Benton, Linn, Jones and Tama counties to resume Monday

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Members of Local 308 of the International Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners in America voted Friday to approve a new contract with area general contractors, ending a more than week-long strike.

"Our members just ratified a three-year agreement and we're going back to work on Monday," said Dave Hogan, business agent for Local 308.

Hogan declined to provide details of the contract, citing an agreement with the contractors.

Local 308 represents about 425 area carpenters. The strike affected construction projects in Benton, Linn, Jones and Tama counties.

Carpenters reportedly were seeking a 4 percent increase in pay, while the contractors were offering between 2 percent and 2.5 percent. Other craft unions had settled for 2 percent to 2.5 percent.

Local 308 cited the 4 percent increase negotiated by a separate carpenters union local in Iowa City. The contractors countered that Iowa City is a different market with sizable construction projects in the pipeline for the University of Iowa.

Among the Cedar Rapids projects affected by the carpenters strike are the new Cedar Rapids Public Works building, Cedar Rapids Transit office and garage, Cedar Rapids Public Library and the Central Fire Station. The U.S. Cellular Center and Double Tree by Hilton renovation and expansion projects are not affected.

Local contractors cited the winding down of major construction projects in Cedar Rapids and the lack of similar projects in the coming construction season for their decision to offer a 2 percent to 2.5 percent pay increase.

While other construction trades continued to work on projects during the carpenters' strike, completion often hinged on work that required them. Bathroom remodeling work could be substantially completed, but city inspectors would not sign off until stall partitions were installed by the carpenters.

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