It's always good to have a bargaining chip in any kind of dispute, especially a labor dispute. That may be the case for the workers on Westnedge, as the summer long nightmare project nears completion. but for now, work to complete the project has stopped.

According to a news release from the City of Portage, the dispute is "between the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association (MITA) and the International Union of Operating Engineers #324."

The South Westnedge Avenue Reconstruction Project is being performed with federal funds and therefore involves a contract between the Michigan Department of Transportation and Milbocker & Sons, Inc., who has subcontracted with Rieth-Riley Construction Co., Inc. to perform paving operations. Rieth-Riley is a member of MITA. The contract allows Milbocker and Rieth-Riley an extension of time to complete the project in the event of a labor dispute. - City of Portage release

This project has already helped to close one business, not to mention honking off countless drivers, and phrases like "The City of Portage thanks the merchants along South Westnedge Avenue and the motoring public for its patience during this labor dispute." really are meaningless.

MLive reports the project was originally to end on the day after Labor Day, but that was pushed back to Friday, Sept. 21st.  In a worst case scenario, barring a resolution, the project could potentially extend to the Christmas shopping season.


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