Teamsters Local 320 Members Preparing Picket Signs For Potential Strike

Members Could Strike Beginning at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, January 14

DULUTH, Minn. – The Teamsters Local 320 is prepping for a strike after rejecting St. Louis County’s Last Best Final Offer during contract negotiations on Saturday.

The union of nearly 180 members includes mechanics, bridge workers, and 102 snow plow operators.

They could strike as early as Tuesday and with measurable snow in the forecast the county is also prepping for a potential work stoppage.

The Teamsters say that the offer by St. Louis County was a decent proposal, but they were blindsided by the county’s Last Best Final Offer which could not be negotiated.

They say their main sticking points are the accrual of sick and vacation hours, severance pay, and dental insurance.

The Teamsters did say that the package offered by the county was generous, but that they believe there is a benefit inequality compared to other county employees.

“We’ve been working for months and dozens and dozens of hours to negotiate and mediate a settlement and the movement has just not been there, once again we were making progress but it fell apart and we were dumbfounded,” said Erik Skoog, the recording secretary for Teamsters Local 320.

The Teamsters could head to the picket line as early as Tuesday.

They say they know a work stoppage could impact the community but claim that they county’s disrespect has led to this point.

“This is going to effect school bus drivers, ambulance drivers, police officers our neighbors our friends our families our friends ourselves this is not something that we want to do and it’s really sad that it’s come to this point,” said Connie Westlund, a heavy equipment operator for St. Louis County.

St. Louis County’s Administrator Kevin Gray says the county’s offer was fair and generous as well.

He also says that stent with other the offer is consistent with what other bargaining units have approved.

The county has been forced to make other arrangements with snowplowing duties which will now fall to other county employees who are not part of the Teamsters but are trained on plow operation.

“We have contingency plan to deliver snow plowing services for county roads throughout the entire county we are going to continue to plow roads we’ve got our priority roads our high volume roads in particular and we will continue to provide those services,” said County Administrator Kevin Gray.

Both sides have said that the ball is in the other’s court.

The Teamsters would not say exactly when they plan to strike, but the action to strike will be taken if the county does not contact them by Tuesday.

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