Minneapolis Public Schools and the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers announced they reached a tentative contract agreement on Friday, which canceled a planned strike authorization vote for the teachers’ union. On Saturday, the district’s education support professionals had voted over 90% in approval to authorize a strike. The union must give the district ten days notice before a strike could begin.

Teacher contract tentative agreement

At a press conference on Friday announcing the tentative agreement, Superintendent of Minneapolis Public Schools Lisa Sayles-Adams said a tentative agreement had been reached earlier that day but the district would not share details of the contract until the  Minneapolis Federation of Teachers members approved the contract. Teachers will vote on whether to ratify the agreement May 8 through May 10. If approved, the school board would then vote to approve the contract at its May 14 regular business meeting.

President of the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers and a candidate for school board in District 6, Greta Callahan, said that the union’s lawyers would review the contract over the weekend and present details to union members on April 29 and 30. Callahan said the contract includes:

  • A shorter school year
  • The highest wage increase in over 25 years
  • Changes to healthcare benefits
  • A reduction in the workload for special education teachers

“We’re feeling like we won,” Callahan said.

Sayles-Adams said the agreement will add to the district’s $110 million deficit for next school year, but didn’t provide specific details.. School board members have recently discussed needing to reopen the budget process based on their expectation that a contract settlement would further increase the district’s deficit. In December, the district had estimated that the union’s salary proposal would cost an additional $114 million over two years,  with the salary component alone costing $92 million.

Sayles-Adams said the contract stayed within the guidelines provided by the board, but did not say what those guidelines were. After the teachers and education support professionals  went on strike in 2022, the cost of the negotiated contract were not known to board members until it was presented at a finance committee meeting two weeks after the strike ended. Then board chair and current board vice chair, Kim Ellison, and  then finance committee chair, Kimberly Caprini, both said they were surprised by the cost of the 2022 contract. The district ended up cutting an additional $27 million from its budget that year.

Education support professionals authorize strike

Of the 87% of education support professionals who voted in last week’s strike authorization vote, 92% voted to authorize a strike. That means the union’s leadership can file an intent to strike at any point, as long as they give the district ten days' notice before a strike starts. The education support professionals and district have a second mediation session with a State mediator on May 1, but the two sides can meet to negotiate before then.

Before closed-door mediation began, education support professionals had asked for a range of changes to their contract in public negotiations, including automatic yearly raises, pay increases based on years of service, additional paid vacation days, a decrease in the cost of their health insurance premiums, and a significant pay increase. The district’s main counter proposal included a 3% pay increase in the first year of the contract and a 2% pay increase in the second year of the contract.