Concrete mixer strike over after only two days off the job

EDMONTON — Striking concrete mixers are back on the job in Edmonton after a two-day strike.

EDMONTON — Striking concrete mixers are back on the job in Edmonton after a two-day strike.

City councillor Tony Caterina says civic officials are breathing a sigh of relief.

He says a long strike could have put the city behind on some scheduled projects.

Teamsters spokesman Keith Norris says 47 Lafarge concrete mixers voted 86 per cent of a tentative deal.

It was the local’s first strike since 1979.

Norris says they didn’t get everything they wanted but the company made some concessions and that made the deal acceptable to workers.

He says the deal includes a 6.38 per cent wage increase over the span of the contract, which is less than two years.

They’ll also get to renegotiate the wage portion next July.

But the union dropped some demands.

Norris said the union wanted to reduce the number of years needed to earn more vacation weeks. They also wanted time-and-a-half and double-time hours to count toward their pensions.

“Hopefully once the contract is signed, everyone can shake hands and say ’you didn’t get what you wanted, we didn’t get what we wanted, and we can both walk away disappointed,’ ” he said.

Lafarge makes about 30 per cent of concrete used in city projects, said Caterina.

The strike threatened to delay those projects at a time when construction costs are low and the city is trying to capitalize by pushing more projects faster, he said.

A Lafarge spokesman could not be reached for comment.

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