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City snowplow, garbage truck drivers reach tentative contract

A snowplow makes its way down Wacker Drive

Sun-Times file photo

A strike by city snowplow drivers has been averted — at least for now.

A strike vote set for Sunday was canceled after negotiators for the city and Teamsters Local 700 agreed to a tentative contract late Saturday night.

Union members will review the tentative agreement this week and will vote on the contract Jan. 14 or 15, according to Stuart Davidson, who represented the union at the negotiating table.

Apart from saying the tentative contract was a five-year deal, union leadership and members shared few details Sunday.

“In the estimation of the bargaining committee and the leadership of the union, it was a fair and equitable agreement that the members have to consider,” Davidson said.

Union members learned of the development after showing up to vote on a strike Sunday morning at a Near West Side union headquarters. Emotions concerning the canceled strike vote and tentative agreement ranged from elated to extremely displeased as union workers left the meeting. With snow in the forecast, several were off to clear roadways.

Local 700 represents 2,032 city employees, the biggest chunk of the city’s unionized workforce outside police officers and firefighters. Many work for the Department of Streets and Sanitation.

Members of Teamsters Local 700 drive garbage trucks and snowplows that clear city streets and runways and taxiways at O’Hare and Midway airports.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, at an unrelated news conference, said Sunday that the deal means that city services will continue.

“It is both good for our taxpayers and good for our residents, and good for our employees,” he said.