Duluth, MN (KROC-AM News) - A strike by union snowplow operators in northeastern Minnesota is set to begin tomorrow.

Teamsters Local 320 today announced 168 employees of St. Louis County will be participating in a countywide work stoppage and are prepared to continue the strike until the contract demands are met. Union officials also indicated they will keep the lines of communication open with the Minnesota Bureau of mediation Services should St. Louis County request additional talks in the wake of the union's decision to reject its final contract offer last weekend.

“This was a tough decision for the membership to make,” says Brian Aldes, Teamsters Local 320 Secretary-Treasurer and Principal Officer. “However, the Teamsters employed by St. Louis County deserve parity of benefits with the civil service and merit employees.”

Local 320 says the striking snowplow operators will be picketing at all St. Louis County Public Works Department locations and plan to deploy mobile pickets to follow snowplows or other Public Works Department vehicles operated during the strike.

St. Louis County officials say they plan to assign managers and other licensed nonunion employees to operate the snowplows and keep county roads and highways clear of snow during the work stoppage. The call to strike tomorrow comes as the National Weather Service is tracking a developing storm system that has the potential to deliver a significant snowfall to areas of eastern Minnesota on Friday and Saturday.

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