215 Freeway widening
Labor talks reach impasse
Michael J. Sorba, Staff Writer
Posted: 08/25/2010 06:53:58 PM PDT

SAN BERNARDINO – Officials with the county’s transportation agency fear work could stop on the 215 Freeway widening project in as little as two weeks if a dispute between a labor union and a contractors association isn’t resolved.

Heavy-equipment workers of the International Brotherhood of Operating Engineers Local 12 are on strike, leaving about 15 percent of the normal work force available to continue with the project.

In response to the strike, The Associated General Contractors of California, which represents about 600 contractors in the state that work in nonresidential construction, has locked out union workers from its member job sites.

San Bernardino Associated Governments, the county’s transportation planning agency also known as Sanbag, is leading oversight of the project along with Caltrans.

Sanbag officials say they’re worried the impasse could delay the project.

“This is a major concern of Sanbag,” said agency spokeswoman Jane Dreher. “It’ll hurt the public. That much longer it’s incomplete and inconvenient.

“It’s really hard on the motorists that go through there and the residents that live in the area.”

Skanska-Rados Joint Venture, the project’s general contractor, is continuing with workers that aren’t part of the operators union as well as some heavy equipment owner-operators, Dreher said.

Sanbag Construction Manager Sagar Panday said 20 to 25 workers are working on the project.

Before the strike, 150 to 200 were working, he said.

This could continue for about two more weeks before heavy equipment operators will be needed for any work to continue, said Panday and another Sanbag construction manager, Mike Barnum.

Local 12’s contract with the association expired July 1.

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