FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Patrick Burke, 940-206-4746, firstname.lastname@example.org
Saint Paul Federation of Teachers Schedules a Strike Vote
Union executive board authorizes a strike vote for January 31, 2018.
SAINT PAUL, MINN., (January 24, 2017) – On Monday, January 22, the Saint Paul Federation of Teacher (SPFT)’s Executive Board voted to authorize a strike vote for members of SPFT’s School and Community Service Professional (SCSPs), Educational Assistant (EA), and Teacher bargaining units. The vote has been scheduled for January 31, 2018.
This vote follows months of negotiations with Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS). The district has not responded to our proposals that would strengthen our public schools and close the racial disparities between students of color and their white peers.
SPFT began negotiations by asking the district to partner with us to seek new sources of revenue. Specifically, SPFT’s proposed negotiating with our large corporate neighbors and partnering to seek payment in lieu of taxes from large private colleges and hospitals. Breaking with tradition, the bargaining team shared this first proposal with the superintendent before the first negotiations session.
Building on previous contract campaigns, SPFT presented a number of proposals to improve public schools. SPFT’s proposals include providing nurse and a librarian in every school, lowering class sizes, increasing the number of mental health practitioners, and expanding restorative practices in our district. We are waiting on responses to most of our proposals.
“Our members are incredibly disappointed that the school district has so far refused to work with us, but as educators, we remain committed to creating the schools Saint Paul children deserves,” said Nick Faber, elementary science specialist serving as president of SPFT.
The district presented proposals at the licensed staff table that would require teachers to work longer hours with more students no additional pay. They also continue to dismiss the contributions of our Educational Assistants and School and Community Service Professionals in SPPS.
“Every day, our EAs and SCSPs work closely with students and families,” said Ellen Olsen, SPFT’s Director of Non-Licensed Personnel and Interpreter for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Interpreter at Focus Beyond. “We provide supports for students who fall into the opportunity gap. If the district is serious about closing this gap, then they must value and invest in our Educational Support Professionals.”
Mediation for the teacher bargaining team continues Thursday, January 24.