St. Louis County plow drivers reject offer, poised to strike
DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — Union snowplow drivers in St. Louis County are poised to go on strike just as snow moves into northeastern Minnesota.
Members of Teamsters Local 320 voted 117-8 on Saturday to reject the county’s final contract offer. Union negotiators rejected the offer after mediation on Friday.
A date and time for snowplow drivers to go on strike has not been set. The first day employees could strike is Tuesday, but the union continues to discuss the strike date, Brian Aldes, the local’s secretary-treasurer, told the Star Tribune.
The county’s Public Works Department plows more than 3,000 miles (4,828 kilometers) of roads. Supervisors and other licensed employees will drive plows during any strike, county spokeswoman Dana Kazel said .
In a statement, county Administrator Kevin Gray called the county’s final offer “a solid proposal that was fair to our employees, is consistent with what other bargaining units have overwhelmingly approved and respectful of the financial impact on our taxpayers.”
The local voted in December to authorize a strike, and on New Year’s Day union officials gave the state notice of intent to strike, prompting a 10-day cooling-off period that ends Monday.
At issue are wages, seniority rights and health care.
Tuesday’s forecast calls for 2-4 inches (5-10 centimeters) of snow in northeastern Minnesota.