The line snaked outside Local 440 in Seattle's Central District, plumes of cigarette smoke rising among the silhouettes.
The union represents laborers, including many workers in the heavy highway industry: tunnel builders, pavers, flaggers.
Of its 1,300 nonretired members, about 600 are currently unemployed, and in the dark drizzle of a recent morning, dozens waited to sign a list at the union's roll call, a chance to stay eligible for any job dispatch that might come in.
Though there are signs that the economy is slowly starting to improve, the upswing has not yet come to the local construction industry, which is still struggling after a devastating recession. In the Puget Sound region, construction suffered the largest employment losses of any industry, and since then job growth has flat-lined.
In Olympia, a bipartisan jobs bill intended to aid the industry has been delayed by the Legislature's budget battle, and a national effort that would fund more projects has been held up, hamstrung by a partisan gulf between House and Senate versions of a transportation and infrastructure bill. The U.S. Senate passed the bill Wednesday.
By 2015, the Puget Sound area can expect to get back fewer than half of the 45,600 construction jobs it lost industrywide over the course of the recession, according to projections from the Puget Sound Economic Forecaster.