A trio of St. Paul unions voted to ratify a contract with the city Thursday evening, averting a strike authorized by snowplow drivers and parks, water and sewer employees.

Workers represented by the Tri-Council of IUOE Local 49, Teamsters 120 and Laborers 363 voted March 8 to allow a strike if they did not reach an agreement with the city following a 10-day cooling period mandated by the state. The unions could have started striking last Monday.

Jonathan Young, a spokesman for IUOE Local 49, said in a statement that members will earn a 9% increase in base pay during the three-year agreement they approved. Union members will also have the ability to earn additional wage increases based on their years of service, 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 statement said. "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."

About 270 workers with Public Works, Parks and Recreation and St. Paul Regional Water Services represented by the three unions have been without a contract since the latest collective bargaining agreement expired Dec. 31.

"The time and effort expended by both parties during negotiations demonstrates our shared commitment to delivering the best possible outcomes for our public employees and the residents we serve," Mayor Melvin Carter said in a statement Thursday. "I am grateful for our ability to gather around the table and work together to find a path forward."