- Bricklayers' handiwork accents a typical St. Louis street.
St. Louis is renowned for its brick architecture
, but don't expect to see a lot of new masonry going up in the immediate future.
That's because as of 12 a.m. yesterday, the 1,000 members of Bricklayers Local 1 are on strike. The union called the work stoppage after weeks of negotiations broke down with the Mason Contractors Association regarding a new contract.
The bricklayers last struck in 2006 before agreeing to a five-year contract that expired this week. The '06 strike lasted one week.
In a statement yesterday, the business manager for the union, Don Brown, said his group is ready to return to the bargaining table and would issue interim agreements to contractors wanting to work through the strike. Brown would not elaborate on what -- exactly -- the bricklayers seek in their new contract. "We don't want to be negotiating in the press," he said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the Mason Contractors Association released its own statement yesterday, saying that it was looking forward to agreeing to a new contracts on Tuesday after negotiating with the union for six hours Friday. "MCA was therefore very disappointed that the union leadership refused to meet more than five minutes on Tuesday, especially after the contractors once again had substantially modified their position," the statement read.
The contractors further stated that the new contract needed to reflect current realities in the market, including the fact that union contractors are the minority these days.