St. Paul city workers vote to ratify new contract

St. Paul public works employees have approved a new contract with the city after a tentative agreement was reached this on the eve of a potential strike this week.

Local 49, one part of a tri-council that represents public works, parks, sewer, and water employees in St. Paul, announced the results on Thursday night.

After a strike authorization vote earlier this month, workers were ready to strike as soon as this week if a new deal hadn't been reached. The strike was averted after the union and city came to terms on the deal on Monday – the final day before the "cool-off" period ended.

The union says the new deal comes with a nine percent increase in pay for members, with the opportunity to earn an additional nine percent based on experience. Water and sewer workers will also get one-time increases based on licenses and certifications.

"Our highly skilled members were seriously underpaid based on recent wage and compensation studies, and this contract is a long-overdue step toward rectifying that," the union writes in a statement. "It was a long battle, but all credit goes to the members who stood up for themselves and would not accept less than a fair deal that pays their critical work the respect it deserves."