With countless public and private projects halted in communities all across the county due to a concrete workers strike, county leaders have passed a motion that requests the county executive to assess the feasibility of implementing a public source of concrete for the county’s projects.
The motion, sponsored by King County councilmembers, Girmay Zahilay, Sarah Perry, Claudia Balducci and Jeanne Kohl-Welles, was passed unanimously by the council on March 22 as the concrete workers strike continues to be an obstacle to construction projects around the county as its duration spans four months.
The language of the motion mentioned the impact that the concrete workers strike has had on several public infrastructure and facilities projects including: the Sound Transit light rail expansion, the West Seattle bridge reopening, the Washington State Convention Center expansion, University of Washington’s Behavioral Health Hospital, the expansion of Harborview Medical Center, and others.
The motion also mentioned the impact that the strike is having on the private sector including vital housing projects being halted amid a housing shortage crisis and the thousands of construction worker layoffs that are occurring as the economy recovers from the pandemic.
“Without a functioning concrete industry, we won’t have the foundation to build homes, public transit, or healthcare facilities. Indeed, countless projects have already stalled,” said Zahilay in a statement regarding the passage of the motion. “This could be a matter of life and death for concrete workers and also for many others in our region.”
The motion requests that the King County Executive branch includes public stakeholders as they research the feasibility of setting up a program for King County to publicly manufacture its own concrete for projects. The motion directs that the cost and revenue factors be determined, that possible locations for facilities are identified and that the executive reports its findings by Dec. 1, 2022
“A publicly-owned source of concrete would shape a new reality where a few corporations don’t decide our fates,” Zahilay’s statement said about the need for a publicly-owned source of concrete for projects across the county.