St. Paul public works: Negotiations set for Monday as strike looms

St. Paul city negotiators are set to meet with union representatives on Monday as the threat of a city workers strike looms in Minnesota's capital city.

Earlier this month, union members for Tri-Council of IUOE Local 49, Teamsters 120, and Laborers 363, voted to authorize a strike as negotiations had stalled.

After notifying the city, the vote kicked off a ten-day mandated "cooling" period to give time for further negotiations before a strike can be called. Union officials say they would be eligible to call a strike starting Tuesday.

Though, it should be noted, even if no deal is reached by Tuesday, that doesn't necessarily mean the union will automatically go on strike.

The unions represent St. Paul city workers including employees for city public works, regional water services and parks and recreation workers. If a strike were to be called, it would leave the city without workers to plow streets, in the event of an early spring snowstorm or repair potholes in the city, along with other vital city functions.

In a statement on Sunday, Local 49 reps said they met with St. Paul officials for negotiations on Thursday but the session ended without "significant progress."

"We’ve scheduled another meeting for Monday afternoon in hopes of finding a resolution," the statement goes on to read. "We would be eligible to call a strike on Tuesday or at any point after that, if the city doesn’t agree to a fair contract that recognizes the vital contributions of our members."

Speaking with FOX 9 last week, Mayor Carter expressed confidence the city would be able to work out a deal, while praising workers for hard work during a difficult winter.

"We've got a historic winter here," said Carter. "Anybody who didn't know before this winter just how much we rely on our road crews has been able to see it over these last couple of months. We value those employees really greatly. We value all of our city employees really greatly. Obviously, we have limited resources to work with. But I'll tell you we've been able to work with them proactively in the past. I'm really confident we'll be able to resolve all this amicably."