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St. Louis County snow plow drivers to move ahead with strike

Teamsters Local 320 has filed a motion to strike.

Plow drivers in St. Louis County have announced their intentions to strike, filing a motion with the Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services (MBMS)

Teamsters Local 320 said on Wednesday morning that its demands for changes to wages. benefits and health insurance have not been met by the county.

Teamsters Local 320 represents 180 workers in St. Louis County's Public Works department.

"The Union has followed the protocol for public workers to engage in a legal work stoppage," said Erik Skoog, Teamster Business Agent and chief negotiator for the county employees. "The Union and County participated in mediation for the 45 days required.”

A date for the strike has not yet been announced, with a mandatory 10-day cooling off period happening first, followed by the MBMS calling back both sides for a final session of mediation.

If no agreement is reached in that session, the Teamsters can call a strike at any time. Workers voted unanimously last month to authorize the strike.

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The county claims the Teamsters left the mediation process in December "without providing a counter offer for consideration and further discussion."

"Our intent has been and will continue to be to negotiate in good faith with the Teamsters and all our bargaining units, some of which have already agreed to contract terms for 2020-22," it said. "The ... employees represented by the Teamsters are our valued employees and we recognize the tremendous service they provide to the citizens of St. Louis County.

"In the interim, St. Louis County has been actively engaged in contingency planning to ensure continuity of services and public safety. Our citizens should be assured that in the event of a strike, the County will continue to plow roads, using supervisors and other staff who are licensed and qualified to plow."

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