Officials from Northern Tier and the union representing workers at the St. Paul Park refinery have gone back to the bargaining table to try to reach a deal to avert a strike.
Last week, refinery operators, maintenance workers and others voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike if a settlement isn’t reached before the labor contract expires on Tuesday, Dec. 31, Teamsters Local 120 officials said. The union represents about 190 workers.
Union business agent Chris Riley said the company has proposed to cut some workers’ pay, eliminate some jobs and seniority protection, and cut vacations and holidays.
“We’re willing to continue working on the current contract, but this company came to the table with 150 concessions,” Riley said. “We’re not asking for the moon here, but we’re trying to keep working.”
Contract negotiations began the day after Thanksgiving, Riley said, and will continue every day until the end of the year deadline.
Employees will receive 2.5 percent pay raises
County employees who work in the law enforcement commander unit, as well as county probation officers, confidential employees and supervisors, assistant county attorneys, and department heads have reached new salary agreements with the County Board. Terms are:
• A two-year contract effective Wednesday Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2015.
• A 2.5 percent general increase effective Jan. 1, and a 2.5 percent general increase effective Jan. 1, 2015.
• For 2014 and 2015, employees below the maximum of the salary range shall be eligible for a 4 percent increase not to exceed the salary range maximum on their classification date.
The contracts also state how much the county will contribute to employees’ health care premiums.
County employees help fill food shelves
Washington County employees contributed $3,145 and filled 106 boxes with food in their winter food drive. Donations were distributed equally around the county at:
• Community Helping Hands serving the Forest Lake area;
• Valley Outreach serving the St. Croix Valley area;
• Christian Cupboard serving the Woodbury area;
• North St. Paul Food Shelf serving the Oakdale area;