WZZM: Marick Masters on state road projects

If the delays caused by all the road projects aren't frustrating enough, there is a chance those projects might come to a screeching halt. The contract negotiated back in 2013 between unionized road builders and the companies who hire them expires on June 1. The Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association represents hundreds of contractors, and Operating Engineers Local 324 is a labor union of 14,000 workers. The road contract between them is critical, and failure to reach a new deal could bring a sudden stop to some state and federally funded projects. “And that’s almost all these projects,” said Marick Masters, a business professor at Wayne State University. The union would prefer to negotiate with individual union contractors, but the association represents both union and non-union companies, according to Masters. “This is a very significant issue in your area as well as across the state,” Masters said. Masters said he thinks the two groups will eventually come to an agreement for the interim. "If they want to negotiate on an individual contractor basis that’s more of a longer term proposition,” Masters said. Masters says for now, road workers will likely continue to operate under the existing contract for as long as the parties allow.

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