Rieth-Riley says its continuing work amidst ongoing strike

Published: Aug. 19, 2019 at 5:16 PM EDT
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Some local road projects that have stopped due to a strike are about to start up again--asphalt supplier Rieth-Riley said it is running at around 80% capacity even though the strike has not ended.

Local 324 headed to the negotiation table Monday after striking in front of Rieth-Riley locations all because of expired labor contracts.

The latest round of talks between Rieth-Riley and Local 324 did nothing to resolve the 20-day strike.

The company said it's open to more negotiations, but doesn't anticipate those will go anywhere so it's moving on without the Union.

Rieth-Riley said its Delta Township asphalt plant has been running since last week and the Mason plant will be back by Friday.

The company says it's running them with new hires and workers who crossed the picket line after ending their membership in Local 324.

The Union said that raises safety concerns.

"This is highly skilled trained work that's done by expert professionals and when those expert professionals are on strike and you are finding people to fill those roles, it doesn't get done right and has to be redone and that cost people money," said Dan McKernan, the COmmunications Director for Operating Engineers 354.

The Ingham County Road Commission said the construction company plans to resume the projects on Lake Lansing and Towner Road.

"What we are hearing from Rieth-Riley is that those roads will be paved probably early September is the specific i can get," Bill Conklin, Ingham County Road Department managing director, said.

Conklin said the first priority is to get the last layer of asphalt on Lake Lansing Road especially as Murphy Elementary School sits along it.

"We understand that is Rieth-Riley's priority as well certainly it is our priority to get projects completed that may impact school traffic," Conklin said.

The road commission does assure parents that Lake Lansing Road between Okemos Road and Marsh Road will be open when school starts. However, they do warn drivers to expect some lane closure.

"Its a three-lane road, traffic may be shifted in tow of the three lanes while work is occurring with the third lane alternating as the road progresses but the school and traffic access to a destination within Lake Lansing Road will be accessible," Conklin said.

Those who live off of Lake Lansing Road have concerns of extra traffic on roads that are in progress.

"There is going to be swarms of buses and kids and everything," Michael Saules, a Meridian Township resident, said.

The road commission said the work on Towner Road is expected to be finished by September. As for the milling and repaving on Central Park Drive, Newman Road and Okemos Road that Rieth-Riley is heading, those have not started yet.

"It is our current understanding that most of that work will be completed or certainly will be at a point where we have stable paved roads services for the winter," Conklin said.

The road commission plans to provide updates to their construction schedule as adjustments are made.

Copyright 2019 WILX. All rights reserved.


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