Anoka-Hennepin teachers plan protest over contract talks
Nearly 3,000 teachers who serve 38,000 students in the Anoka-Hennepin School District are not satisfied with recent contract offers from the district and plan to leave school Wednesday at the end of their designated shifts.
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.
On Monday, the district offered a 3% and 2% pay raise over the next two years, but Holtus said the union was still not accepting the latest offer and decided a “work-to-rule” protest Wednesday was a way to protest the district’s offer. That means teachers will leave at the end of their work day as prescribed in the current contract and do nothing more than that.
“They’re used to seeing us work later and, you know, bring a lot of work home which is, at times, unavoidable. But during work-to-rule, we do not do that,” Holtus said. “One of the actions we just started is called Walkout Wednesday.”
Anoka-Hennepin School District spokesperson Jim Skelly issued a statement that said, in part:
“The Anoka-Hennepin School District appreciates the important role that teachers serve in supporting students both during the school day and as part of extracurricular activities and events. The District is aware that teachers at some school sites are participating in a ‘work to rule’ approach during the pending contract negotiations. Please know that any such decisions are not at the direction or encouragement of the District.
“The School Board is actively engaged in negotiations with Anoka-Hennepin Education Minnesota regarding updated terms and conditions for their contract and is committed to working in collaboration with teachers through the negotiation process. It is the goal to improve terms and conditions for employees while working within tight budget parameters that maintain financial and operational stability for the district.”
Skelly added 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.