Minneapolis and St. Paul teachers set open-ended strike date for March 8
Minneapolis, MN – On February 23, Twin Cities teachers, along with education support professionals in Minneapolis and education assistants in Saint Paul, announced that they have filed ten-day notices to begin open-ended strikes in both cities’ public schools. The strikes are set to begin on Tuesday, March 8.
The educators who took strike votes in Minneapolis are members of the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers and they took a strike vote last week in which more than 93% of the bargaining unit voted to strike. In Saint Paul they are members of the Saint Paul Federation of Educators where more than 78% of votes were votes to strike.
The educators in both unions say that they need to strike now to protect the schools that their kids deserve. They have been fighting in contract negotiations for smaller class sizes, mental health and other health supports for students, racial justice in hiring and retention practices at the schools and increases to compensation for all educators. There has been a special focus on raises for the education support professionals and education assistants, who are by far the lowest paid and also the most diverse group of workers in the two school districts.
In the leadup to the strike votes the unions held a joint march from Minneapolis to Saint Paul which thousands of educators, parents, students and community supporters joined despite subzero temperatures. Turnout for the strike votes was record breaking as were the strong votes to strike. While the educators have said that striking is a last resort and they would rather see the districts bring proposals that would move forward their demands and protect their schools and students, they also are fully committed to fight for as long as is needed if a deal is unable to be reached.