Labor Dispute Could Delay Minn. Construction Projects

Updated: 09/26/2013 7:15 AM By: Jay Kolls

Gov. Mark Dayton and Minnesota Department of Transportation officials met with union leaders and contractors to try to avoid road repair delays because a labor dispute could jeopardize construction products.

Workers at the Cretex plant in Shakopee have been on strike for more than 100 days. The company makes, among other things, pre-cast concrete manholes and sewer pipes.

Those products are needed in a timely fashion, and most road construction cannot be done without them. That's why Governor Dayton and MnDOT officials met Wednesday with union leaders and contractors to find out how to avoid product delays and make sure product quality is not diminished. 

Mike Frost owns Nova-Frost Company in Hastings. He was invited to the meeting to share his perspective on the potential effects the strike might have on road repair jobs in the near future.

Frost tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, "The product at Cretex has not always been available since the strike began, and that already has lead to some delays." Frost also says he has noticed some of the pre-cast concrete products have been inferior since replacement workers started working at Cretex.

Engineers at the Cretex plant are also poised to go on strike over the same wage and pension dispute as the laborers.

Frost says if the engineers walk at the end of December "things could get worse and you might see road construction delays across the state."

The president of Cretex did not want to comment on camera but tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS they are "confident we will keep up with product demand and there will be no problems with any construction delays."

The Governor's Office declined to comment on the meeting but did say they are hopeful the two sides can resolve the issue quickly. MnDOT officials told us they did not have anyone available to talk on camera Wednesday.