Anoka-Hennepin Teachers Union set to rally for contract ahead of Monday’s school board meeting

Anoka-Hennepin teachers to rally before School Board Meeting

Anoka-Hennepin teachers to rally before School Board Meeting

Teachers in Minnesota’s largest school district are planning a rally ahead of a school board meeting Monday night.

This comes after months of negotiations for a new contract between the teachers union Anoka Hennepin Education Minnesota (AHEM) and the Anoka-Hennepin School District.

The union has since filed for mediation services, the first of which will happen on Jan. 3.

A spokesperson for the school district said neither they nor AHEM can negotiate terms and conditions when there is pending mediation.

The union represents nearly 3,000 teachers who serve about 38,000 students. Union officials say they are fighting for higher pay, benefit increases and a seat at the table to help determine class sizes.

Teachers started walkouts at the end of their Wednesday shifts last month.

RELATED: Anoka-Hennepin teachers plan protest over contract talks

Anoka Hennepin Education Minnesota President Valerie Holtus told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the union rank-and-file were not happy with the district’s original offer of a 1% and 1% pay raise over the next two years.

“Actually, they felt insulted and they felt devalued and they felt that the district didn’t believe their work was valued,” Holtus said.

The district then offered a 3% and 2% pay raise over the next two years, but Holtus said the union is still not accepting the latest offer and began a “work-to-rule” protest instead. That means teachers will leave at the end of their workday as prescribed in the current contract and do nothing more than that.

Anoka-Hennepin School District spokesperson Jim Skelly said that the average Anoka-Hennepin teacher earns $77,702, and the average salary would increase to $84,364 on July 1, 2024, under the terms of the district’s current offer.

The school district also shared what they say are the competing financial proposals from both entities:

  • The most recent proposal from AHEM: 18.61% increase (K-12) and 20.86% (ABE/ECFE); $66 million in new money. Increases in salary range from 8.34% to 31.61% over 2 years. (October 2023)
  • The most recent proposal from the district: 8.17% increase (K-12) and 8.9% (ABE/ECFE); $29.6 million in new money. Increases in salary range from 4.81% to 17.2% over 2 years. (November 2023)

Skelly adds that the “negotiation process is complex and limited by the resources available to the school district and how they are distributed.”

Monday’s rally will be held at 6 p.m. at the Anoka Hennepin Sandburg Education Center, and attendees can then move to the board meeting, which starts at 6:30 p.m.