County plow drivers without contract threaten strike


PITTSBURGH - Some snow plow drivers in Allegheny County are threatening a strike after going over a year without a contract.

 A total of 50 Public Works employees could strike as early as Friday. The employees who could have a work stoppage cover 640 miles of roads.

 County leaders said they are prepared to keep roads clear even if a strike happens.

 Meanwhile, the president of Teamsters Local 249 representing about 50 workers, most of them plow and salt truck drivers, admitted the union is using the storm as leverage in its contract negotiations with the county. But he said he wants to keep his members on the job.

“I don't want to go on strike,” said Joseph Rossi Jr., president of the union.

The workers have been without a contract for 13 months and are at odds with the county over pay.

The union wants the same raises other county employees were granted — 2 percent for 2013 and 2014 and 2.5 percent for 2015 and 2016. The county offered those raises but on a delayed schedule, according to the final offer the union rejected on Sunday.

The truck drivers are responsible for plowing and salting 640 miles of road throughout the county, said Public Works Director Steve Johnson. He said in the event of a strike, the county will still keep roads clear and salted. County spokeswoman Amie Downs declined to provide details.

Channel 11’s news exchange partners at TribLIVE contributed to this report.