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St. Louis Co. plow drivers plan to walk off the job Wednesday morning

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MN -- St. Louis County plow drivers with the Teamsters Local 320 Union are preparing to strike Wednesday morning, the union posted on its Facebook page.

Teamsters Local 320 20-day strike period officially began at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday.

County spokespeople said all union plow drivers showed up for work Tuesday morning.

County spokespeople say they have a contingency plan ready when the plow drivers walk off the job.

"We have supervisors in the public works department, we also have several additional employees in other departments who are all licensed and qualified to drive snow plows. The big message for the public is roads will still be plowed, it may take us longer, but we do have licensed qualified operators to drive the plows", said Dana Kazel, St. Louis County Communications Manager.

Talks between the county and the local broke down last month over wages, seniority rights and health care.

Union officials say there will be ongoing pickets at each Public Works Department location and mobile pickets are to follow Public Works vehicles should they be deployed absent Teamster drivers.

“This was a tough decision for the membership to make,” says Brian Aldes, Teamsters Local 320 Secretary Treasurer and Principal Officer. “However, the Teamsters employed by St. Louis County deserve parity of benefits with the civil service and merit employees.”

Union members voted 117-8 on Saturday to reject the county's final contract offer.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Briggs LeSavage

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