DULUTH -- The union that represents St. Louis County snowplow drivers will strike, it said Monday, Jan. 13, but is being coy about when and where the picketing will take place.
"A date and time has been selected with no future mediation scheduled," Teamsters 320 negotiator Erik Skoog said. "We will be available for comment after the strike begins, but until then we have no comment."
The Teamsters voted 117-8 Saturday in Eveleth to reject the county's latest offer, moving workers one step closer to a strike.
Bureau of Mediation Services Commissioner Janet Johnson said the Teamsters also refused to inform the state of a strike date. She called it a "courtesy," but not required by state law.
Teamsters have between Tuesday, Jan. 14, and Feb. 3 to strike, and have previously said they were watching the weather and aiming to strike when it snows. Light snow is in the forecast throughout the early part of the week.
"It doesn't make sense for plow operators to go on strike when it's 50 degrees and sunny out," Skoog said earlier this month.
He continued to hold out hope that the Bureau of Mediation would work to bring the sides closer. Over the weekend, Skoog called the county's final offer "generous," but said it failed to address a disparity in benefit accruals between longer-term employees and newer ones who fall under a contract negotiated in 2012-13.
Reopening and leveling those accruals would cost the county $1.5 million, Teamsters said over the weekend, and send a bad signal to other unions within the county that made similar agreements.