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County Salt & Plow Truck Drivers Could Strike This Week

PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) - Another round of snow is making its way through the area and the Allegheny County salt trucks are clearing the roads, for now.

A possible snowstorm looms late Tuesday night into Wednesday this week, some 60 members of Teamsters Local 249 – the people who plow and salt more than 600 miles of Allegheny County roads - are threatening to strike.

The union says it hasn't had a contract in 14 months, and there have been only seven bargaining sessions with the county.

Teamsters Local President Joseph Rossi Jr. said Monday, "We get a contract, we'll be in the trucks, if we don't get a contract, we probably won't be in the trucks."

About a dozen union members greeted County Executive Rich Fitzgerald with jeers Monday, as he left the county Courthouse, en-route to an event in Deer Lakes Park.

He had no comment when confront by the workers, protesting the stalemated contract situation.

However, Fitzgerald joined KDKA Radio's Larry Richert and John Shumway to talk about the situation.

The union claims they aren't getting the same treatment as other groups in the county.

"They are," says Fitzgerald, "But, I'm not going to negotiate through the media."

Watch Ralph Iannotti's report:

Fitzgerald says that they will continue to negotiate with the union and that the increased bad weather this winter doesn't pressure the county into getting a contract done.

"This is winter in Pittsburgh," says Fitzgerald.

Will the roads get treated if there is a strike?

"We will make sure the roads get treated. That the salt trucks and the plow trucks are staffed," says Fitzgerald.

Rich Fitzgerald

County Manager William McKain told reporters, "The most important thing is that public safety is out highest concern ... we will do whatever it takes to salt and plow the streets."

The union says it's seeking a 2 percent salary increase for last year, and this year. And, a 2.5 percent salary hike in 2015 and 2016.

Listen to Larry Richert and John Shumway every weekday from 5 to 9 a.m. on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA.

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