City contract raises ire of regional labor union

SNOQUALMIE - Amid vehement protests from several members of a regional labor union, the city of Snoqualmie approved a controversial contract for a Park Street revamp project.

Members of the Operating Engineers Local 302 attended City Council meetings on Aug. 25, Sept. 8 and Sept. 10 to say that Division 2, the nonunion company that submitted the lowest bid for the project, had a history of wage discrepancies and safety problems. The Revised Code of Washington (RCW) states that cities must take the responsible low bid for projects and Snoqualmie city staff had recommended the City Council approve the Division 2 bid.

At the Aug. 25 City Council meeting, union members said Division 2 was being investigated for failure to pay overtime and operating dangerous sites. Council deferred the issue back to city staff at the Aug. 25 meeting to gain more information about the allegations. The issue was brought up at a public works committee meeting following the Aug. 25 City Council meeting, but no comment was made by union members in attendance. At the Sept. 8 City Council meeting, city staff again recommended that the bid be approved and submitted references from other cities that had worked with Division 2 to back up the recommendation.

City attorney Pat Anderson said the allegations Local 302 had accused Division 2 of were not extraordinary or were still pending a decision by the labor office with which they were filed. Anderson also wrote an opinion and that if the city decides not to award the bid to Division 2, it would have to have a good reason under the RCW.

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