MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — For the first time in 40 years, the Mounds View Public Schools could see a strike if talks between the SEIU Local 284 union and the district continue to stall.
Nearly 400 paraeducators voted to authorize the 24-hour strike after a three day voting period. It was approved with 80% support, with nearly 90% of members taking part in the vote. Their bargaining points include health insurance, an option to have pay split over 12 months, paid prep time, and accommodations to ensure special education paras can best support their students.READ MORE: St. Paul School Board Chair Jeanelle Foster Recovering From COVID
So far, the district has not moved on these issues.
“Paras are the people who always put others before themselves,” said paraeducator Cathy Springhorn. “We deserve to get the same health insurance as everyone else, and we need the tools to make sure every student reaches their highest potential.”READ MORE: What Is Proper Fall Clean-Up Etiquette? And What Methods Are Best For Your Lawn?
Mounds View Public Schools have negotiated with five other employee bargaining groups this year, resulting in salary increases of 1.5% to 2%. However, the district says SEIU 284 chose not to consider terms similar to the other contracts, resulting in a mediation period.
The two sides have been bargaining for nine months, during which they held nine bargaining sessions. They will be back in mediation on March 31.
The bargaining team would have to give a 10-day notice for any strike, and as of yet no strike date has been set.MORE NEWS: Online Learning Apps Helping Kids Catch Up From Pandemic-Compromised School Year
The vote comes as 4,000 janitors across the metro and 3,500 St. Paul educators are set to go on strike in the next week if they don’t reach a new contract.