CHICAGO (CBS) — A snow plow on the streets of Chicago is one of hundreds out on wet winter days.
However, Teamsters Local 700, which represents snow plow and garbage truck drivers, is now suggesting those plows could be idle when they’re needed most due to a contract negotiation.
Furthermore, CBS 2 Political Reporter Derrick Blakley reports that Teamsters is threatening a possible strike vote this weekend if progress isn’t made in contract talks — a strategy admired by a man who should know.
“I think that’s the best scare tactic they could possibly have,” said Don Rose, a political consultant.
Rose ran Jane Byrne’s 1979 mayoral campaign that beat the machine after incumbent Michael Bilandic fumbled snow removal following a monumental storm.
“To this day, people tell me ‘I will never forget that commercial with Jane Byrne standing in the snow,'” Rose said.
Apparently, Teamsters hasn’t forgotten, either. Their 10-year contract, negotiated by former Mayor Richard Daley, expired six months ago.
“Everybody knows that if the snow piles up, it puts the mayor in jeopardy,” Rose said.
In a statement, a City Hall spokesman said talks “continue to move forward in a respectful and productive manner,” and the city “remains optimistic” that Teamsters won’t walk out.
Rose is optimistic, as well.
“I think they will settle with them. I don’t think the union wants to go on strike.”
The two sides were in negotiations Wednesday, and the city notes that multiple meetings are scheduled for this week. Even if a strike vote is successful, it doesn’t necessarily mean a strike will take place. Mandated slow down procedures mean any walkout would be at least one month away.