Northwest carpenters reach tentative deal to end strike

SEATTLE — A nearly three-week strike by thousands of Northwest carpenters could soon be over.

The Northwest Carpenters Union said it reached a tentative deal with the Associated General Contractors of Washington overnight.

The two groups sat down at the bargaining table Tuesday to try to hash out an agreement.

The strike is now on hold until union members can vote on a possible contract. As part of the tentative agreement, carpenters will return to work Wednesday until the contract is put to a vote and ratified.

The carpenters have rejected four previous proposals in a divide between some carpenters and union leadership.

Leaders of the Associated General Contractors have said from the start of the strike that they were “disappointed and perplexed” by the decision to strike and felt they made a “robust and competitive offer” with take-home pay exceeding $115,000 a year.

Highlights of the tentative deal include:

  • A $10.02 per hour increase over three years (15.43% increase).
  • Retroactive pay from June 1 through the date the contract is ratified.
  • Expanded Seattle parking zone to include First Hill and increase from $1.00 to $1.50.

Since the first day of the strike, carpenters said the strike was about higher wages to keep up with the cost of living and other expenses that drain their paychecks.

“We are out here fighting our tails off in order to get all of us carpenters a fair contract,” striking carpenter Jim Thompson said.

“The members are speaking. They want to be able to have a livable wage,” union leader Lee Carter said.

There have been issues within the union, especially over whether to honor no-strike clauses at some large construction sites. Some union members wanted more action to give the strike more weight.