On Thursday evening, at our eighth bargaining session with administrators from Saint Paul Public Schools, we put forward our 31st proposal — our wages and benefits proposal.Our proposal reflects the values of our union and asks that SPPS recognize the value that our members bring to both our schools and our communities. If the district truly hopes to create an educational environment where every student is able to thrive, it must ensure that our public schools are spaces where educators are respected, and their voices are honored.Currently, educators are leaving our district at a startling rate. At the start of the 2019–2020 academic year, SPPS had to hire 350 new educators to fill vacant positions. Many of the reasons why educators are leaving are staring right at us. Our educators are stretched too thin. They’re being asked to play multiple roles within their building, being asked to do too many things with too little support, and they aren’t being paid what they are worth.During our last contract negotiations, the district refused to agree to any pay increases greater than 1% for each of the two years in the contract. That increase was less than half of the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) rate set by Social Security over that same period of time. Our current proposal seeks to address this issue over the next two years for all of our members.For years, the district has failed to keep pace with the ever-growing cost of health care and has only agreed to minimal increases in their contributions to health insurance for most of our members. Over the same period of time, we’ve seen the price of so many of our other daily living expenses climb. The proposal we have submitted to the district includes much-needed increases in district health insurance contributions for each of our members in both years of the contract.We suspect, as in years past, that the district’s response to our wages and benefits proposal will be the same response they’ve had during every contract negotiation. They’ll try to paint us as greedy educators who don’t care about our students and are only out for a pay raise. Or they’ll toss out arbitrary parameters for salary increases or health insurance contributions, and then try to point to them as red lines that we are flagrantly crossing.But we know the truth. Our proposal is both thoughtful and reasonable. And a wage increase is essential if SPPS wants to get serious about building the school district that Saint Paul students deserve.
Your Bargaining Team