Minneapolis teacher strike enters third day

A third day of picketing is taking place Thursday by the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers.

The union is expected to call for change in downtown Minneapolis, one day after rallying at the state capitol.

Watch an update from the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers on mediation via the video player below:

[anvplayer video=”5095054″ station=”998122″]

Teachers, as well as their supporters, are scheduled to have a rally and march through downtown Minneapolis at 12 p.m. Thursday.

[anvplayer video=”5095072″ station=”998122″]

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Parent Union issued the following statement, calling for an end to the strike:

Teachers, parents and community leaders are appalled with the union’s clear lack of desire to end the strike and get our children back in school. They’re not even at the negotiating table, they’re campaigning and spreading misinformation. MFT’s actions are continuing to harm children, families, and teachers, especially children, families, and teachers of color. MFT should be at the negotiating table working things out for our children.

Negotiations Thursday are scheduled to last for another five hours between education support staff and the district.

The second day of the strike Wednesday brought hundreds of people to the steps of the capitol, asking for lawmakers for additional funds for education using part of the state’s nine billion dollar budget surplus for things such as higher wages or teachers, smaller class sizes, mental health support and a higher salary for support professionals.

Some teachers believe this fight could last a long time, but say they aren’t backing down.

“It’s about time we stood strong and took the hit for the good things that our students need, and it’s all about our students too,” said Margaret McCreary, a teacher in the Minneapolis School District.

“What we are asking for is not unrealistic, it’s not excessive,” said Kristen Melby, a fellow teacher. “We are asking for quality education for all students and it’s past time to do that.”

The district has posted a comparison of both sides’ contract proposals, and shows a dramatic difference between the teachers’ proposal, and what the district is offering – $158 million.

According to the district, the teachers’ plan would be a 21% wage increase over two years. Their wage offer includes a raise of more than 6%. For education support professionals, the district says the union’s proposal could cost as high as nearly $10 million more than the district’s offer.

Courtesy: Minneapolis Public Schools

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS has reached out to the union for a response, but haven’t heard back.

Minneapolis Public Schools tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS it is waiting on counter proposals from both teachers and support staff, which includes responses to wages and recruiting diverse teachers.

Additional negotiations are scheduled throughout the weekend.

Union officials say picketing is scheduled to be done at bridges and overpasses throughout the city from 7:30 a.m. – 10 a.m.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS will continue to update this article with updates throughout the day.