City of St. Paul to negotiate with public workers Monday in hopes of avoiding strike

Negotiations are set to continue Monday between St. Paul and three unions representing public works employees.

If they are unable to come to an agreement, more than 100 city workers could walk off the job as soon as Tuesday – at a time when there is a lot of work ahead to repair the roads after a long winter.

These workers — all from the parks, water and public works departments — are responsible for plowing snow, filling potholes and other duties around the city.

The workers vote to authorize a strike passed on March 8 following their contract expiring at the end of 2022.

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Workers are asking for better pay to help with not only rising costs, but also to bring in and keep more employees in their departments with more competitive wages.

A representative from International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 49 said there’s been no significant progress on negotiations with the city.

Mayor Melvin Carter said in a written statement on March 9 that “The extreme weather we’ve experienced these past several weeks has strongly underscored the value our public workers provide to our community. We will continue to negotiate with urgency, and good faith in our ability to reach a positive resolution together.”

The meeting is scheduled for Monday afternoon.