St. Paul teachers union sets a Feb. 20 vote on authorizing a strike

The union representing 3,600 teachers, educational assistants and community service workers in the St. Paul public schools says it will vote Feb. 20 on whether to authorize a strike against the school district.

Leaders of the St. Paul Federation of Educators agreed Monday night to ask their members whether they should authorize a strike. The union and district averted a strike during contract talks two years ago.

In a statement, the union said the district has “refused to have any real discussion around educator pay and benefits” or take its other proposals seriously. The union is seeking a “fully staffed mental health team” in every building and more multilingual staff to help students and families that need interpreters.

State law requires the district and unionized employees to bargain every two years. Negotiations began last May. The St. Paul union filed for mediation in November. In a statement Tuesday, union officials accused district leaders of “dragging their feet for months” on negotiations.

If federation members on Feb. 20 authorize a strike, the union’s executive board would then likely set a strike date. State law requires the union to give the district at least 10 days notice before the first day of the strike.

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