Plow drivers among St. Paul city workers who could strike in near future

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Some St. Paul employees — including snowplow drivers — could go on strike as soon as March 20 if they don’t reach a new contract with the city soon.

Workers represented by the Tri-Council of IOUE Local 49, Teamsters Local 120 and Laborers Local 363 approved the strike authorization by a unanimous vote on Wednesday. The Tri-Council represents public works, parks, sewer and water employees.

While workers have authorized a strike, they still need to give a 10-day strike notice before picketing. The Tri-Council said a strike could occur if contract negotiations break down or if union members reject a final contract offer.

The city’s latest collective bargaining agreement with the Tri-Council expired on Dec. 31 and a spokesperson for St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter said the city and Tri-Council are actively engaged in mediation.

“The extreme weather we’ve experienced these past several weeks has strongly underscored the value our public workers provide to our community,” Carter said in a statement to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS. “We will continue to negotiate with urgency, and good faith in our ability to reach a positive resolution together.”

The city says negotiations with the Tri-Council will resume on Friday.