“Granite Construction Co. takes these issues very seriously,” Granite Construction branch manager Rod Cooper said in a statement released to the media on behalf of the construction company. “We had been in negotiations with Teamsters Union Local 533 to try to reach a new agreement that would be fair to the company, the employees and the union. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to do so and the negotiations broke down.”
The Teamsters union began picketing outside of Granite’s headquarters on Glendale Road in Sparks and in Floriston, Calif. on Sunday after two unanimous votes to go on strike.
“We are disappointed that the union has decided to take actions which we believe are in violation of the law,” Cooper said in regard to the strike that began on Sunday. “However, we intend to continue to follow appropriate legal procedures in hopes of resolving this matter."
Cooper described appropriate legal procedures as “following the terms of the contract and requirements of the National Labor Relations Board.”
NLRB is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1935 to administer the National Labor Relations Act, the primary law governing relations between unions and employers in the private sector.
According to Teamsters, Granite wants to cut employee’s wages from $21 to $13. Granite Construction has not released any details about the negotiations or the contract.
“We believe that the details of the negotiations are private and we prefer not to share the details; however, what the union has told the media (about the contract) is incorrect,” Cooper said.
The original 60 employees who went on strike on Sunday continued picketing through Monday.
“We’re still at it,” Teamsters president Frank Thurston said. “We’re holding our picket signs and we’re extending it to California. We’re still waiting for Granite to come to the table.”
Thurston did not explain what the ultimate goals of the negotiations are because “contract negotiations will be kept private.”
“We have a lot of help from other people, but there are 60 people who are on strike right now,” Thurston said.
The ultimate goal of the strike, Thurston said, is to reenter into negotiations with Granite.
“We just want to get back to work,” Thurston said.