This letter went out to SPFT members’ personal email addresses a little after midnight on February 1, 2018, following certification of the vote results by SPFT’s executive board.
Dear SPFT members:
By an overwhelming margin, you voted to authorize a strike. Approximately two-thirds of our members voted this evening. 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.
Following the vote count, the executive board decided to file a notice of intent to strike on Thursday, February 1, 2017 with a strike not to begin before February 13, 2017.
First of all, I want to say thank you. Thank you for giving up your time on a Wednesday evening to make your voices heard. Thank you for participating in the democratic process of the union. And thank you for standing up for our students and our profession as educators.
Nobody wants to go on strike, and please know that we will do everything in our power to work to prevent one. We have mediation sessions scheduled for February 2nd and 7th. We hope the district will also work diligently to settle our contract so that we can stay in our schools with our students where we belong.
However, we also know that our students can’t wait. Our English Learners and our students receiving special education services need more supports now. We must focus on educating the whole child and providing adequate mental health supports for all students. Our students deserve lower class sizes so educators can build lasting relationships with them and their families. We have to expand restorative practices so that we are working with students instead of pushing them out of our schools. And we need our paraprofessionals – including our Educational Assistants and School and Community Service Professionals – to be valued and treated with respect.
I am proud to be representing educators who are so dedicated to both their students and the teaching profession. I am truly humbled to be your president and to have your trust.
Let’s settle this contract and create the schools our students deserve.
President of the Saint Paul Federation of Teachers