Rieth-Riley resumes Kent Co. roadwork despite strike

Kent County

CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — One of two West Michigan road projects stalled by a worker strike resumed Wednesday.

The Kent County Road Commission says Rieth-Riley Construction plans to restart street repairs in a Cascade Township north of 36th Street.

The project was halted about three weeks ago when Operating Engineers 324 announced about 200 workers were striking over an expired labor contract and “unfair labor practices” by Rieth-Riley.

Rieth-Riley said Wednesday that despite the OE strike, it has “a significant number of employees back to work,” including from other unions.

The Kent County Road Commission announced last month it was adjusting the Cascade Township road project and repairs to Byron Center Avenue in Byron Center because of the strike, so both areas could reopen to traffic.

A spokesperson for the union says last week, Rieth-Riley met with the union over a proposed contract, but walked away from the table. The union representative said Rieth-Riley hasn’t provided any future dates to meet.

Rieth-Riley says it offered a deal to the union but hasn’t yet gotten a “substantive response.” It said a hearing on the strikers’ complaints is scheduled for late October, but it could be years before the National Labor Relations Board actually reaches a decision.

Rieth-Riley manufactures asphalt and employs heavy equipment operators for road projects. The Indiana-based company operates 13 facilities statewide including locations on Chicago Drive in Wyoming, Kalamazoo, Zeeland, Big Rapids, Benton Harbor and Ludington.

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