Minneapolis teachers union asks state for mediation in contract discussions

The Minneapolis Federation of Teachers (MFT) has requested the state’s help in contract negotiations with Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS).

On Tuesday afternoon, MFT formally submitted a mediation request to the state’s Bureau of Mediation Services as talks between the union and the school district stalled.

A spokesperson for MFT said teachers have met with the district in seven negotiation sessions. However, the union has not yet received a response to its opening proposal for salary increases or the district’s financial proposal.

“This is another step towards a more safe, stable, and strong Minneapolis Public Schools,” said Greta Callahan, president of the teachers chapter of the union. “While we are waiting for our turn with the mediators, we are willing to continue open bargaining in good faith. Both sides are meeting with the best intentions of reaching an agreement that values the work of Minneapolis teachers and will help us provide a high-quality, culturally relevant education to our students.”

Callahan said the union and teachers hope mediation will speed up negotiations so the two sides can reach a tentative agreement by the time the district’s new superintendent, Dr. Lisa Sayles-Adams, is scheduled to take over on Feb. 5.

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“We want to start our relationship with Dr. Sayles-Adams with the contract behind us,” Callahan said. “We want to start our work together with a clean slate.”

The union made the decision to ask the state for mediation due in part to the ever-growing backlog of requests for mediation, the spokesperson said.

More than 20 unions of educators, including Anoka Hennepin Education Minnesota and the St. Paul Federation of Educators, have already filed for mediation in 2023.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS has reached out to the school district and will update this story if any response is received.