No New Contract Talks in Carpenters Union Strike

By George Ford and Nadia Crow, Reporters

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - No new contract negotiations have been held to craft a new contract and settle a strike by members of Local 308 of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America in Cedar Rapids.

"We left the ball in the contractors' court to decide if they want to sit down and talk," said Dave Hogan, business agent for Local 308. "We've told them that we're open anytime today, over the weekend, or next week. All they have to do is call us and we have not heard from them."

Hogan said the contractors are offering the union a one-year contract. Members of Local 308 voted Tuesday afternoon to reject the latest offer and went on strike at midnight when the previous contract expired.

Local 308 of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America has 425 members. The strike is affecting construction projects in Linn, Benton, Jones and Tama counties, where picket lines were set up Wednesday.

Hogan declined to specify what contract issues are in dispute.

There are 15 building trades unions in the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City area. Hogan, who also serves as president of the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City Building Trades Council, said two unions are working under contract extensions, others are continuing to negotiate and still others have reached new agreements.

Hogan said many of the building trades contracts expire on May 1. The new contracts' length varies by trade.
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