St. Paul educators vote to authorize strike

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Friday morning, the votes are in, and the Saint Paul Federation of Educators are now authorizing a strike against St. Paul Public Schools.

According to the Saint Paul Federation of Educators Local 28, nearly two-thirds of the roughly 3,550 members voted and of those who voted, 82% voted to strike.

SPFE members have been negotiating a contract with St. Paul Public Schools this week, although the two sides have been at the table since May of last year. In November, they went into mediation to try and work out a deal.

St. Paul educators to vote on strike Thursday

The bargaining team said its three main priorities are a fully-staffed mental health team in every building, more multilingual staff, and additional educators supporting students with special needs.

If the strike does happen, all classes through SPPS would be canceled. 

The superintendent said he is extremely disappointed by the vote and he has now told the bargaining team to clear their calendars, including nights and weekends so that they can negotiate. 

However, union members said district officials aren't listening.

"No one wants to strike, but St. Paul educators are fed up," Nick Faber, president of the Saint Paul Federation of Educators, said in a statement. "District leaders aren't listening to the people who know our students best – the educators and parents who are with them every day. The longer they ignore our proposals, the longer our students go without the resources they need and the schools they deserve."  

SPPS is the state's third-largest school district. The district hasn't been on strike since 1946.