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Minneapolis teachers go on strike over salary and class size issues

March 8, 2022
The teachers union and the school district are at odds over wages, caps on class sizes and providing more mental health services for students.

Teachers in the Minneapolis district began a strike Tuesday after being unable to reach agreement on wages, class sizes and mental health support for students.

The strike is disrupting classes for about 29,000 students, reports The Minneapolis Star Tribune. 

Members of the MInneapolis Federation of Teachers and the district have been unable to reach agreement on salaries, caps on class sizes and providing more mental health services for students.

"We are on strike for safe and stable schools, we're on strike for systemic change, we're on strike for our students, the future of our city and the future of Minneapolis public schools," said Greta Cunningham, president of the teachers union.

Teachers in the neighboring St. Paul district, with about 34,000 students, announced a tentative agreement late Monday night that averted a strike.

Union officials in both cities said the issues were largely the same. The St. Paul teachers union said its tentative agreement — subject to approval by members — maintains caps on class sizes, increase mental health supports and provides pay increases.

Minneapolis has about 3,265 teachers, and St. Paul has roughly 3,250 educators. The average annual salary for St. Paul teachers is more than $85,000; in Minneapolis, it's more than $71,000.

However, the districts also employ hundreds of lower-paid support staffers, many of whom complain that they don't receive a living wage; those workers have been a major focus of the talks. The Minneapolis union is seeking a starting salary of $35,000 for education support professionals.

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