Minneapolis education support professionals vote to authorize strike

Minneapolis Education Support Professionals (ESPs) voted to authorize their union to call a strike against the Minneapolis Public School district hours after the teacher’s chapter announced a "historic agreement" on Friday.

ESP union members held an informational picket at Folwell Elementary School Saturday morning to voice their demands.

A news release from the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers states they are demanding a "substantial wage increase, more affordable health care and automatic steps to reward experience and encourage retention, which is like the system in the teachers’ contract."

The news release adds that 92% of the ballots cast were in favor of authorizing a strike. Officials say this vote does not compel the union to go on strike, but it does give the ESP Executive Board the authority to call a strike with a 10-day notice if it is deemed necessary. 

The next mediation session between ESPs and the district is set for May 1, but negotiations may resume before then without a state mediator.

Teachers are expected to vote on the tentative agreement with Minneapolis Public Schools May 8-10. The Minneapolis Board of Education is set to vote on May 14 if it is ratified. 

President of the ESP Chapter Catina Taylor released a statement that says "Most education support professionals in the Minneapolis Public Schools are not paid enough to live in Minneapolis without taking a second job. This is not acceptable. One job should be enough. No one wants a strike, but we’ve been working on an expired contract for more than 300 days. We’ve waited long enough."