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Construction workers end strike, return to work in Western Wash.

The strike has left an unfinished mess at many construction sites. (KOMO News file photo)

SEATTLE - The 17-day strike that delayed major construction projects around Western Washington appears to be over.

The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 302 - which represents the striking crane operators, road pavers, mechanics and other workers - says a tentative contract has been reached.

A statement on the union's web site says workers are being told to stop the pickets and return to job sites Friday morning.

Union members will now vote on the tentative agreement. No details were immediately available about the deal.

Workers rejected two previous tentative deals after their union contract expired in June. Most recently they rejected a nearly 16 percent pay raise and a 13 percent increase in fringe benefits, such as health and welfare and pension pay.

The strike, which began Aug. 21, has brought a halt to contruction at apartment high-rises, road improvement projects, school upgrades and others around the growing Seattle metro area.

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