Teamsters Local 320 Representing St. Louis County Plow Drivers Authorizes Strike

The Teamsters Local 320 represents plow drivers, bridge workers, and other positions in St. Louis County Public Works.

DULUTH, Minn. – The Teamsters Local 320 union representing St. Louis County Public Works employees has authorized a potential strike if a new contract with the county is not agreed to by the end of the year.

“We have a very open relationship with the county a relationship built of respect and trust so it’s unfortunate that the county has taken our relationship and our kindness and misconstrued that with weakness,” said Erik Skoog, the recording secretary for the Teamsters Local 320.

The Teamsters Local 320 represents plow drivers, bridge workers, and other positions in St. Louis County Public Works.

On Sunday the Teamsters voted 112-1 to authorize the strike after stalled negotiations with St. Louis County.

Along with wages, the Teamsters have several issues they would like to see in a new contract.

They would like work to be assigned by seniority and allow drivers to bid their routes and equipment.

They also believe there is a benefit inequality in the county where other county employees have more desirable vacation and sick leave policies.

The ability to shop health insurance is also a major issue.

“We feel that we can go out and find a better product and save our members and county money at the time. Since 2017 health insurance has increased 31% so that’s on the minds of members for sure,” said Skoog.

The Teamsters Local 320 last authorized a strike in 2011 but they did come to an agreement before a strike actually happened.

The teamsters say they do realize the impacts of a potential plow drivers strike in winter, but their contract is just scheduled to end at a certain time.

“If we didn’t have this much snow we would still be in the same position that we are in right now, we are not trying to leverage the snow our contract expires at the end of the year,” says Skoog.

St. Louis County  did respond in a statement saying:

“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.”

If an agreement is not reached the Teamsters will file for intent to strike.

This will trigger a ten day cooling off period then one more mandatory meeting between the Teamsters and county before there is a strike.

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