Crane operator strike ends after 17 days of slowed construction in Western Washington

A local union representing crane operators and construction workers across Western Washington has reached an agreement with a state contracting association to end a 17-day strike that has slowed construction projects over the past few weeks.

Construction cranes across Seattle, which holds the title of crane capital of America, had been idle as negotiations continued between the local chapter of the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) and the Associated General Contractors of Washington.

The union had twice voted to reject agreements that were crafted by union leaders and the contractors association.

Union members -- including pavers, crane operators, surveyors and other construction workers -- were told to report to work Friday, Sept. 7.

According to the Seattle Times, base pay for union members is between $37.70 and $43.13 per hour. That number goes up to $48.77 per hour for a "median worker classification" in the union. The new contract includes a 6 percent pay raise, plus a $3.22 per hour increase in heath and pension benefits.

Union members who work in downtown Seattle will also receive $1.25 more an hour, the Times reported.