DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — Some three-fourths of the St. Louis County snowplow drivers in the Virginia district didn’t respond to an emergency call-out on Saturday morning.

The drivers belong to Teamsters Local 320, which has filed a strike notice for early Wednesday. The union says the main issues are the county’s proposals for duties and pay for long-time employees.

County Administrator Kevin Gray told the Duluth News Tribune the Virginia station has 16 to 18 road-maintenance workers. He says the county used its contingency plans for the possible strike to fill the gap, although Saturday’s job action hadn’t been expected.

Gray says the Virginia station is the only one of the 16 locations in the county where workers didn’t respond to the call-out Saturday.

A mediation session is set for Monday.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (51)
  1. Joe Hanson says:

    Perhaps the county should outsource the snow plowing.

  2. Joe Hanson says:

    Hopefully there were no deaths due to emergency responders not being able to reach victims such as occurred recently in New York City where the public employees couldn’t, or wouldn’t clear the snow.

  3. Curt says:

    Out Source it. Plenty of tax paying contractors could use the work.

  4. steam roller says:

    i bet the county could save a boatload of money if they replace those union workers with non union ones that actually want to work. Unions had their place and time, the government pretty much makes the rules as far as work place safety and workers rights. no need to pay a band of thugs to do it for you now days

    1. Clarence says:

      Good comment…I agree!

  5. getridofem says:

    Another vote for outsourcing—and yes there are plenty of contractors that would do it—–and for a lot less I am willing to bet-

  6. T says:

    Maybe they can find a Canadian company to do it. I mean, there is no point in rewarding people who have worked hard and stayed dedicated to their job.

  7. BK says:

    I find it interesting that gov’t at all levels is hurting for money with a very high unemployment, and they choose to strike? I say fire their butts and hire new people that want to work and send a message to the unions we have had enough inflation and poor spending!!!!!!!!

  8. mark from mntaxwaste.com says:

    Over paid, these clowns are making $22.00 an hour, when they hit OT they are making $31.00 an hour plus they are able to bank the money. I was a member of Local 320 with Hennepin County, nothing but bums. Fire the lot of them and out source. mark@mntaxwaste.com

  9. mark from mntaxwaste.com says:

    Sorry, I meant to say back the OT hours and use it for vacation. Still fire the lot of them and out source mark@mntaxwaste.com

    1. Biff says:

      Go away pantywaste…. I bet you would still be working for 320 if they hadn’t fired your sorry a$$ for the idiotic comments I’m sure you made

      1. truth hurts says:


      2. mark from mntaxwaste.com says:

        @Biff, Sorry pal I was sick and tired of busting my butt while the Union losers stand around getting paid for doing nothing. Guess it was his low standards or he just knew he could get away with it. No I’m 50 semi retired and doing great. Thank GOD I set the bar high. Also Jiffy Diffy the Unions are nothing but a waste of tax payers money. mark@mntaxwaste.com

  10. Paul D says:

    wow all you people are nuts keep wishing good paying jobs away
    and this country will fail. but thats what the scocialists/communists
    of the country want total take over by the government.
    remember that people with good paying jobs go spend their $ on goods and services in the area. take that away and say good bye to grocery stores gas stations restaurants it will snow ball and everything will fail.
    But then we can all be lazy and put are hand out for some of that Obama $

  11. Mike Jacobson says:

    The only people who are wishing a good paying job away is the drivers who did not show up for work. It’s their job…you show up. I commend the 25% of the drivers who showed up when called in. Give them a raise and all the ot they want and get rid of those who put people in danger by not doing their job.

  12. Bob says:

    Hey’ call me I would love to make the kind of money they are making. How stupid with the way things are today they should be freaking happy they have a job. The county should fire them all and hire new. Plenty of us out here that would apply for there job. I don’t know the facts but it would be really scary to go on strike . This is from a union man for the past 30 years.

  13. Dave L says:

    This isn’t the 70’s or 80’s.- just fire them. There are plenty of people who would love the benefits and job security they have. There is no excuse for jeopardizing public safety like this.

  14. Barney says:

    Not me! I’m in AZ and we haven’t had any snow where I am for many years. I don’t think they’d even recognize a snowplow if they saw one. However, some folk drive up into the mountains and bring back a truckload of snow for their kids to play in. That works fine for about two hours, then its making a slushy mess in their driveway.

  15. Craig says:

    If your a plow truck driver, you are a greedy clown. Most people do not make as near as you nor have the benefits you do. Because of your selfishness you risked other peoples life by not doing your Job. You could have been paid 30 dollars an hour and your attitude would have eventually still resorted to a bunch of belly acheing. Do us a favor and all you greedy state/city workers just quit. Then you can be replaced by people who truly appreciate just doing there jobs and who really need the money!!

  16. Kevin says:

    Unions Suck! Fire them all! Do these morons understand public safety and the fact that we as tax payers pay there wages!!!!! FIRE THEM!!!!!

    1. Dude to U says:

      Not all unions suck and not all union members act like A$$ wholes like these greedy pin heads did. We don’t know all the facts But they should have waited till they got to the table to gripe about their problems. They just dug a deep hole and may find out with a pink slip.

  17. jm says:

    Maybe you guys should pull your head out and realize that maybe the goverment doesn’t need to run everyone’s life and these workers don’t want to get walked all over.

  18. scubasteve says:

    they should all be written up for not showing up for work or fired for putting the people in danger. Plenty of unemployed people that would love to be driving one of those plows right now!!

  19. fred says:

    To all of the haters of unions posting. I hope your boss screws you over real good so you understand why you still need unions. The union was stupid in this case. Public service unions of all types would be well served to stay at the status quo for a year at a time until the economy picks up.

  20. Chris says:

    Way to go drivers. You deserve more and at least a fair and reasonable contract settlement. Sticking your neck out during these times is tough and must be warranted.

  21. AK says:

    I’m neither a union hater or supporter but with what happened in NYC, then to hear these public employees ignored an emergency call out is troubling. The message you sent to the public/taxpayers is that the union is a higher priority, certainly not the public. If you think you’re indispensable and not replaceable, guess again. In these economic times, good luck, you’ll need it.

  22. Union member says:

    I am a public employee/union member and have been for 17 years. I have not gotten a raise for two years, nor do I expect one for at least the next two. I am just grateful to have a job and to have enough seniority that I do not have to worry about a layoff. I think these plow drivers have made a mistake, but I don’t know the whole story. Unions have protected co-workers of mine who were being targeted by supervisors who were wrong. Unions do serve their purpose. Forcing an agency to raise wages in this economy might not be one of them…

    1. mark from mntaxwaste.com says:

      Not in two years? Doubt that unless your contract is up next month

      1. Union Member says:

        Contract is up in December, 2011. Doubt what ever you want. I can’t change it.
        We agreed not to take raises last year and this year, have been told not to expect them in 2012 or 13.

  23. Jimmy Two Tows says:

    Im going to call that Public Works director and tell him I can start tomorrow!

    I hold a Union Card (Local 49) and have experience,,, Lets Go!!!!

    If one Person gets hurt from the streets being dangerous,, Looks like the County Tax Payers will be paying the Bill! In Maple Grove Mn some youg lady was killed due to Bad roads. Unions and Government is a Bad Mix for TAX PAYERS!

  24. Hayward says:


  25. Paul D says:

    wow ALOT OF IGNORANT FOLKS OUT THEIR with out unions we would not have 40 hour work weeks no such thing as overtime or vacations health insurance and in these time most employers treat the worker as trash that can be tossed aside at will. if employers keep thinking the idea that they can keep taking away everything
    unions will rise again and be strong.

    1. steam roller says:

      I would have agreed in 1950 but today sorry no such luck. keep thinking of great reasons why unions are needed to protect workers rights in the 21st century.

  26. JKB says:

    Im curious, I heard local companies that plow driveways, parking lots, etc charge upwards of $120 hour. Would hiring local, non-union workers really save money???

  27. mark from mntaxwaste.com says:

    Look what the lousy Unions did for Detroit, they helped them have the highest unemployment rate in the nation. mark@mntaxwaste.com

    1. Love it says:

      Wow, you’re fricking brilliant. First you diss a union member for not taking a raise, then you make a psuedo-intellectual statement that disses unions for high wages. Make up your mind. No wonder your group can’t get anything accomplished.

      1. mark from mntaxwaste.com says:

        @Love it, You might want to reread what I wrote DA

  28. Mac says:

    Really a fricken dumb time to make a wage play.
    I charge $120/hour but that would mean zero maintainance and related costs. This is for parking lot and residential work – roads are an all together different beast.
    Would money be saved by subcontracting out the business? I would love the work and all as would others but we’d be talking $220 plus an hour minimum. Probably more in the range of $240-260. I would wager money it would not be cheaper if I am honest and maybe 30% higher. The government has the equipment, buildings, better leverage on buying, costs and everything else. So they would win in this instance.
    This contract and stoppage would not occur of course with us and that would be the one area I think we hold the advantage.

    1. Pure BS says:

      When we have this crap happen or we have budget shortfalls and whatnot we always go back to blaming “labor” …. I smirk, smile and then laugh.
      I have 5 siblings or in-laws who do private sector contracting for cities and counties. Each one will say they charge way more than they could do it in house at the municipalties, less responsibilites, use themselves subs to minimize costs and maximixe their profits, and just fricken love it when Johnny Q Public gets all worked up about unions and labor costs as they smell more coming their way.
      Maybe everyone needs to step back, pull your emotional whatnot out of it and think. Sometimes you truly don’t want what you wish for.
      I cannot think of many things – large scaled matters – that the private sector does that doesn’t cost waaaaaay more. Think Hailburton, air and auto industry, petro and energy industries, on and on. We look at the government numbers and are aghast – but then look at these sectors and compare on apple to apple based on size and percentages, etc —- you’ll puke. just saying folks …. open your eyes for once and really look. 😉

  29. Love it says:

    Mark –reread what you wrote, still sounds like your dissing both sides. Maybe you could explain it better. What has the MNTAXWASTE.COM group accomplished anyway??

    1. MNTAXWASTE.COM says:

      @Love it Give me the name of the city you live in, 10 min and I will be back to post some tax waste in it

  30. Love it says:

    Well, almost an hour and I haven’t heard a peep about the tax waste in Delhi. Typical. Mark is too busy sitting in a coffee shop thinking he’s impressing people with his vast knowledge and self-righteousness, when all’s he’s really doing is irritating the h__l out of everyone.

    Moving on.

    1. MNTAXWASTE.COM says:

      @ Lovehimself, Sorry out shopping with the wife. Well I see you don’t live in Minnesota, or maybe you do, but mentally your in another world. My guess your in another world.

  31. MNTAXWASTE.COM says:

    @Lovehimself, I forgot one thing, if I irateness you I will sleep well tonight.

  32. Hey! says:

    Delhi, MN 56283 Redwood County. But I doubt Love It is from here, we’re nice down here 😉

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