Minneapolis, St. Paul teachers could strike starting March 8

Educators speak outside of a building.
Teachers and education professionals from Minneapolis and St. Paul talked about their contract demands Wednesday after filing an intent to strike at the state’s Bureau of Mediation Services in St. Paul. They said they could walk off the job and shut down public school classes as soon as March 8.
Tim Nelson | MPR News

Updated 6:10 p.m.

Unions representing teachers and school staff in Minneapolis and St. Paul have filed the paperwork to strike as soon as March 8.

The filings Wednesday began a 10-day countdown for potential strikes involving more than 8,000 educators and 62,000 public school students in the two school districts. The unions have been asking for higher wages, smaller classes and more mental health supports.

If either party fails to reach an agreement in negotiations and educators go ahead with a strike, classes would be canceled in that district’s schools.

In St. Paul, Minnesota’s second-largest school district, union leaders are asking for limits on class sizes, better mental health support and wage increases. 

In Minneapolis, union leaders are asking their district, the third-largest in Minnesota, to raise pay for teachers and education support professionals, reduce class sizes, adjust special education caseloads, designate teachers to work with quarantined students and boost mental health services for students.

Ed Graff, the Minneapolis superintendent, said in a statement that the district can't afford long-term increases in payroll or other costs and that his district will work day and night to avoid a strike.

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