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St. Louis County’s union plow drivers threaten to strike

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MN— Plow operators and mechanics with the Teamsters Local 320 Union, employed by St. Louis County’s Public Works Department, voted Sunday to authorize a strike if their demands are not met. 

The Teamsters Local 320 had been in negotiations with the county for some time, including a 19-hour mediation session last week, according to Erik Skoog, a union spokesperson.

The approximately 180 union members are asking for changes to their wages, benefits, and health insurance. Skoog said the strike authorization vote didn’t have to do with recent long hours worked. 

Skoog said Sunday’s 112-1 strike authorization vote means that the plow operators and mechanics could strike if an agreement is not reached. They will continue to plow in the meantime.

They have a strike date in mind, Skoog said, but they don’t plan on releasing it to the public. 

Their contract expires December 31. 

We reached out to representatives from St. Louis County about the potential strike.

County Communications Manager, Dana Kazel, provided the following statement to KBJR 6:

“We have received notification that members of Teamsters Local 320 have rejected a contract proposal as part of labor negotiations for contracts effective January 2020.

Teamsters Local 320 represents approximately 200 employees including equipment operators, heavy equipment mechanics, bridge workers, sign technicians, storekeepers and other positions in the Public Works Department.

We respect the negotiations process and will continue to negotiate in good faith. We value these employees and the important work they do, and are optimistic that a positive outcome will be reached.”

Dana Kazel, Communications Manager

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Kaitlyn Moffett

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