Minneapolis educators approved a new contract nearly three weeks after going on strike for higher wages, smaller class sizes, protections for educators of color and mental health support.
The union, which represents about 4,500 teachers and education support professionals, began its strike on March 8 after contract negotiations with the district had dragged on for months.
One of the key issues in the strike was compensation for the lowest-paid staff. Under the new contract, starting pay for education support staff will increase from $19.83 per hour to $24 per hour, which would raise annual pay from $24,000 to nearly $35,000, close to the goal the union set.
Teachers will get a $4,000 one-time bonus, a 2% raise this year and a 3% raise next year.
The negotiated deal also includes new class size caps, more mental health support for students as well as layoff protections for educators of color.
The district will make up for lost class time by adding 42 minutes to each school day starting April 10 and adding two weeks to the school year.
“We should be so proud today to be educators,” Greta Callahan, president of the union’s teachers chapter, said in announcing the approval. “We have never been more united, and all of our eyes are wide open to the real fight ahead of us. This is one battle in a larger war that we are fighting, and it is for strong public schools.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune, March 27
KARE 11, March 28