Hold the Line + Hold Each Other. Strikes WORK!

Last week, just two short days after filing their 10-day strike notice, Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) food service workers with SEIU Local 284 landed a historic tentative agreement (TA) with the district, with major wins that include:  

  • Historic wage increases of $1 in the first year and $.75 in the second year, with additional steps and longevity increases for long-term employees, with workers seeing wage increases up to 24% over the life of the contract 
  • Retro pay for all of the gains 
  • $2,000 cash payments in year 2, additional $1,000 in year 3 
  • Improvements on life insurance & long-term disability, vacation accrual, retirement security and personal days. 

This is huge. We couldn’t be happier for MPS food service workers, who we rely on to keep our kids healthy and fed while they’re at school. These workers are essential to our communities. For many students, school is the one place they can count on for a solid meal each day – and SEIU food service workers are the ones who make it possible. 

This victory was hard-won – and it provides tangible proof that when workers stand up together, we can win what we need and deserve. It’s clear that the union’s strike vote is what pushed MPS to come to the table willing to negotiate a contract that affirms the value these workers bring to our schools and communities.  

“We achieved this because we had the strength of our united membership who showed up for the strike vote and the mediation sessions to show that they have our backs. The decisions we made, and the huge gains we won, were for them and all of our membership,” said Patrick Henry H.S. union steward Ken Nelson.  

While SEIU workers were able to negotiate a TA with MPS, educators with the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers (MFT) are still holding the line – and it’s up to all of us to stand in solidarity with them in their demands for living wages, smaller class sizes, mental health support for students, and systemic changes to improve the recruitment and retention of educators or color. 

Two weeks into the strike, it’s more important than ever to show MFT educators we’ve got their backs – and we’re going to stand with them for as long as it takes to win a fair contract, so we can transform and protect our public schools for years to come. 

Here are a few ways you can show up for Minneapolis educators as they continue to fight for the safe, stable schools our kids deserve: 

As parents, union members, and neighbors, TakeAction Minnesota staff have been holding the line at pickets across the city, at schools including Patrick Henry High School. in North; Pilsbury Elementary in NE; and Washburn High, Justice Page Middle School, and Bancroft Elementary in South Minneapolis. Reply to this email if you want to join up with us!  

In unbreakable solidarity, 

Trisha Harms, Communications Director (Minneapolis) 
Yolanda Roth, Strategic Partnerships Director (Minneapolis) 

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