MFT ratifies historic agreements for safe and stable schools to suspend strike
MINNEAPOLIS, March 27, 2022 – The Minneapolis Federation of Teachers and Education Support Professionals has ratified two historic agreements with Minneapolis Public Schools that start to deliver on the union’s demand for safe and stable schools for Minneapolis students.
The agreements were accepted by majorities of ESP and teachers who voted over the weekend. The ratifications suspend the strike that started March 8, pending approval of the agreements by the Minneapolis Board of Education.
Under the terms of the agreements, union members will return to their schools on Monday to prepare for the return of students on Tuesday.
These historic agreements include significant wage increases for ESP and nation-leading protections for teachers of color, including exemptions from the excess and layoff process and more. In addition to improving our students’ learning conditions by adding more counselors, social workers, nurses, and specialists, this strike also helped set the conditions for significant change within MPS and how it approaches its work. Union leaders recognize that there is more work to do and this is just the beginning of turning around the Minneapolis Public Schools and are committed to continuing this work in the months and years to come.
Greta Callahan, president of the teachers chapter, said teachers could see how the new contract language will begin to change the culture and operation of the district.
“Our collective action for the past three weeks, and the support of our communities, have created the first lasting, enforceable guarantees about the size of classes our students will learn in as well as specific contract language around supporting and retaining educators of color,” Callahan said. “We have increased our mental health support teams. We will return to our schools on Monday more united with our students, our communities, and each other. That said, it is unacceptable that our district leaders kept students out of school for 14 days in order to add some of these critical supports for our students.”
Shaun Laden, president of the ESP chapter, said the overwhelming support of ESP members for their agreement proved one simple point. “Strikes work!,” Laden said, “ESP held the line for 14 days, and ESP won significant raises, more hours, improvements in benefits, and seniority rights for hundreds of ESP who didn’t have them. ESP will have more money in their pockets and our students will benefit from more stable schools.”