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Teamsters Reject Final Offer from St. Louis Co.

WDIO-TV
Updated: January 11, 2020 08:09 PM

Following nearly a day and a half of mediation with St. Louis County, the Teamsters voted Saturday to reject the final offer from the county.

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County Administrator Kevin Gray said: "We are disappointed in the outcome of today’s vote rejecting this Last Best Final Offer. It was a solid proposal that was fair to our employees, is consistent with what other bargaining units have overwhelmingly approved, and respectful of the financial impact on our taxpayers." 

The Teamsters represent 168 St. Louis County employees of the Public Works Department. They include snow plow operators and mechanics, in addition to bridge workers, building maintenance, parts specialists, and sign technicians.

Their contract expired on New Years Eve and on New Years Day, they filed an intent to strike.

The Teamsters said that there were issues with benefit and wage inequalities, healthcare alternatives, and seniority rights.

The county said that they proposed a three-year contract offer for 2020-22. It included base wage increases of 2% plus an additional $0.55 cents per hour in 2020, 2.25% in 2021, and 2.25% in 2022.

According to the county, they also proposed a higher starting wage rate for new snow plow operator and other revisions to wage schedules that allow employees accelerate through the salary ranges faster. This means most employees, over the three year period, would have received wage increases of 10.5% to 12.5%, as well as any scheduled paid step increases, which average 3.8%.

In terms of health insurance, the county said they agreed to the union’s request to allow the bargaining unit to elect to leave the county’s self-insured health plan in the future with an employer contribution equal to that provided to employees covered by its own self-insured health plan

According to the county, the gridlock seems to be centered on the sick leave accrual cap. The county agreed to increase maximum sick leave accrual from 1,250 to 1,350 hours. The union on the other hand wanted a maximum 1,500 hour payout upon retirement. The county says that that request was a no go because that would create a potential $18.5 million taxpayer liability for future payout costs.

The window for a strike begins Jan. 14 and ends Feb. 3.

Related: Teamsters Provide Notice of St. Louis Co. Plow Driver Strike

Related: Who Plows What? County Crews Handle Some Roads in City 

Related: St. Louis County Plow Drivers Hope to Reach Contract Negotiation with County 

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