Teacher Contract Negotiations and Possible Strike
If a contract is not negotiated between the Saint Paul Federation of Teachers (SPFT) and Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS), then beginning Tuesday, February 13th, teachers will be on strike.
Teachers and supporters at LNFI have planned:
8 a.m. - 11 a.m. Picket line at UC (corner of Ames and Case and WB Ave). We will picket in front of the school We will also join forces with Hazel Park and be walking down WB Ave towards Maryland Ave to move and have more visability.
11 a.m. - 12 p.m. Lunch and move to a daily decided mass rally for all members/community members/etc to be in solidarity
12 p.m. - 2 p.m. Rally/daily mass picket line (location TBD daily)
We will have a "warming house"/strike HQ right across the street from UC, at the home of the union steward at Hazel Park. We will check in daily there, make signs, etc. We will use her house to go to the bathroom, warm up, eat.
Parents can support striking teachers in three ways:
1) To learn about the teachers' perspective about contract negotiations, visit, http://spft.org
2) Picket with teachers at Upper Campus
3) Make donations of food, toilet paper/tissue/napkins, plates, cups, utensils, coffee, hot chocolate, snacks, etc., to the warming house. Contact local businesses you know would be willing to donate warm food to a picket line.
LNFI Union Steward, Hannah Geimer (2nd grade teacher), wrote this e-mail to the families of her students to provide them with more information:
"I know you have been receiving many emails from SPPS about the potential strike. Please hear from me, that the district is not saying everything. Please take a look at spft.org to find out more about why teachers are willing to strike and what is truly going on.
Also - I invite you to join us on the picket line if we do strike. This is for us. This is for children. This is for something better than what is happening now or what would happen if the district's proposals were agreed to by SPFT members/teachers. I am the Strike Captain for LNFI and will be contacting past parents and some current parents who would be willing to help mobilize our parent population, talk with local businesses, etc to help donate food and certain things to the "warming house" (strike HQ for LNFI) if we do walk on Tuesday. If you would like to support us in this way - here is my personal email: hannahgeimer10(at)gmail(dot)com I will be able to give you more information there - I CANNOT communicate about the strike through the spps email.
Also - I plan on talking to the kiddos on Friday at the end of the day. How I plan on presenting it is - teachers are doing this for you. Teachers are doing this because they believe in you. Teachers are doing this because we know it can be better. Honestly, I am going to be relating it to our Civil Rights unit that we are currently working on with African American History.
Thank you for all you do - please think about your possible connections with local businesses and or ability to help/support teachers/children by donating items during the potential strike.
We (SPFT) made progress at the bargaining table and have tentative agreements on our proposals around tiered licensure, recruiting and retaining teachers of color, guaranteeing at least 20 minutes of recess each day, elementary specialists, sharing special education IEPs with EAs who work with students, and protecting teachers’ rights to tell families they may refuse standardized testing. With one exception, these are cost neutral proposals.
The district is still declining to free up funds to support our students’ needs. As of right now, they are unwilling to tap into their unallocated reserves or back a school funding referendum. Without agreements on class size, English Learner and special education supports, and restorative practices, we remain far apart on a settlement.
Here’s what we know:
- Parents, students and educators agree: Class size matters. Students want to be in smaller classes where they get more individualized attention from educators to thrive and grow. Educators want smaller classes so they can build strong, positive relationships with students and families.
- Our students enrolled in special education services and our English Learners need access to staff who can help them achieve their full potential. All of our students deserve to have the supports they need to flourish, especially our students who are uniquely vulnerable in the current political climate.
- Restorative Practices are transforming schools in Saint Paul. Instead of pushing students out of our schools, we are building communities which foster strong relationships and repair harm. Our district needs to continue this investment in shutting off the school to prison pipeline.
We also believe cultivating and supporting educators who reflect the diversity of students. To this end, we are working on making sure our multilingual support staff who translate for families are fairly compensated. We are asking the district to expand time offered to our School and Community Service Professionals for religious observances. We’ve also proposed limiting the additional duties our EAs are asked to take on in lieu of their primary job responsibilities. EAs provide critical services to students, especially our English Learners and students with special needs, and our students deserve their full attention. However, the district is saying no to these proposals.
We have not yet talked about wages this week at the bargaining table, even though the press seems obsessed with that topic. Once again, the Superintendent and school board were not active in negotiations.
Negotiations will continue tomorrow, and we have offered to meet this weekend to work toward settlement.