FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Patrick Burke, 940-206-4746, email@example.com
Members of the Saint Paul Federation of Teachers Vote to Strike
Union members authorize a strike
SAINT PAUL, MINN., (February 1, 2018) – By an overwhelming majority, members of the Saint Paul Federation of Teachers (SPFT) voted to authorize a strike. On Wednesday, approximately two-thirds of members voted at the Intercontinental Hotel in downtown Saint Paul. Of the votes, 82.0% of School and Community Service Professionals, 89.5% of Educational Assistants, and 85.1% of Teachers and Licensed Staff voted yes to authorize a strike.
After months of negotiating, educators in Saint Paul voted to strike vote because of the lack of progress at the bargaining tables on the most important issues for SPFT’s members.
“I voted yes to strike because our kids need better supports for English Learners, mental health, school nurses, special education and restorative practices,” said Krisi Herman Hill, a teacher at Washington Technology Magnet. “We can and must do better.”
Members of the SPFT Executive Board decided to file a notice of intent to strike on Thursday, February 1, 2018.
The district has been silent on most of the union’s proposals so far. They offered a small raise, but made it clear that programs to support students would come out of that money. Saint Paul Public Schools is also seeking to increase class sizes for at least 29 elementary schools in the district.
“Our schools could not function without our Educational Support Professional units,” said Ellen Olsen, SPFT Director of Nonlicensed Personnel and an Interpreter for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students at Focus Beyond. “For too long, the district has refused to treat these SPFT members with the respect and dignity they deserve for their work supporting students and families.”
“Nobody wants to go on strike, and we will do everything in our power to prevent one. However, we are going to fight for what our students need and not apologize for working to create the schools Saint Paul Children Deserve,” said Nick Faber, President of SPFT.
Members voted between 2:30pm and 8:30pm at the InterContinental Hotel in Downtown Saint Paul. The Saint Paul Federation of Teachers represents 3,700 members divided into three bargaining units. All three units voted to authorize a strike.
SPFT last went on strike in 1946. The union last took a strike vote in 1989.