Road workers strike spreads

Road construction laborers went on strike Wednesday morning followed at midnight by heavy equipment operators.

Among the reconstruction projects put on hold are the Eisenhower Expressway, Lower Wacker Drive and the Congress bridge.

The strike over wage issues by some members of the Laborers' District Council of Chicago caused relatively minor disruptions to the $95 million Eisenhower resurfacing project, Marisa Kollias, spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Transportation, said Wednesday.

But she said the situation would quickly worsen if other unions joined the strike, which they now have.

Local 150 of the International Union of Operating Engineers, whose members operate heavy machinery, went on strike at midnight after an authorization vote earlier in the evening. The walkout involves about 8,500 union members working under several agreements in nine northeastern Illinois counties.

Other unions that could follow include carpenters, cement masons and technical engineers.

"We are in OK shape right now on the Eisenhower and we will be OK if the strike lasts a couple of days,'' Kollias said Wednesday. "But if this goes on for a couple of weeks or a month, the project will be seriously delayed.''

from the Trib

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