Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

Minneapolis Teachers Strike for Smaller Class Sizes, More Counselors and Higher Wages

Minneapolis teachers went out on strike this morning. They are demanding increased wages, smaller class sizes, mental health support for students, and support and retention of BIPOC teachers.

Tatiana Cozzarelli

March 8, 2022
Facebook Twitter Share
ELIZABETH FLORES, STAR TRIBUNE

In the birthplace of the George Floyd uprising and on International Women’s Day, Minneapolis teachers and support staff have gone out on strike. At 7:00 this morning, the public schools in Minnesota’s biggest district were surrounded by teachers holding signs and chanting: “Who’s got the power? Union power!” Their signs read “smaller class sizes,” “living wage now!” and “WTF: where is the funding?” 

This is the first time Minneapolis teachers have been on strike since 1970. The strike vote passed with over 97% approval; over 93% of educators participated in the vote. Teachers in St. Paul, Minnesota were also set to go on strike, but reached a tentative agreement late last night. 

Among the Minneapolis educators’ demands are increased wages, smaller class sizes, mental health support for students, and support and retention of BIPOC teachers. 

A central demand is increased wages for Educational Support Professionals (ESPs) — who are mostly people of color. The Minneapolis Federation of Teachers includes classroom teachers as well as support professionals in the same union, and the demands of ESPs are central. Their duties range from one-on-one support to students, to providing food, custodial, transportation, health, and interpretation services. The current starting wage for ESPs is a meager $24,000. At 40 hours a week, that’s $11.54 an hour while inflation is at 7.5 percent. Currently, workers on strike are demanding a $35,000 salary for these essential support staff. 

The district claims there simply isn’t money for all these demands, but teachers have pointed to the $9.3 billion surplus in Minnesota. This budget surplus is a significant increase from last year’s $1.6 billion surplus — in fact, the state has run budget surpluses for the last nine years. 

The money is there. And teachers should go on strike until they get what they need for themselves and their students. After all, teachers’ working conditions are students’ learning conditions. 

Drew Valle, a Black special education teacher in Minneapolis explained, “We want fair pay for our education support professionals who are often BIPOC and are unfairly compensated for the real work they do. I am a Black teacher and I want to see the working conditions of my peers improve.”As one ESP with the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers told the Lincoln Journal Star: “We are here to create systemic change and refuse to accept anything less.”

Facebook Twitter Share

Tatiana Cozzarelli

Tatiana is a former middle school teacher and current Urban Education PhD student at CUNY.

United States

Biden, Congress, and the Squad Just Voted to Block a Rail Strike. Workers Should be the Ones Who Decide

The Biden administration called on Congress to undemocratically impose a contract on rail workers across the country and avert a nationwide rail strike. The deal has already passed the House with unanimous support from Democrats. This latest maneuver by a “proud pro-labor President” shows that there is no such thing: the state acts in favor of the bosses to protect their profits.

Madeleine Freeman

November 30, 2022
The U.S. Congress building

Senate Votes to Overturn Covid-19 National Emergency

Just over a week after the “election to save democracy,” Senate Democrats voted with Republicans to end the Covid-19 Emergency Declaration three years after it was invoked. Both parties show us time and time again that the working class needs its own party.

Mike Pappas

November 29, 2022
President Biden greets John Fetterman, Pennsylvania’s Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate, after arriving Thursday at Pittsburgh International Airport

Jacobin Is Wrong: The Midterms Were Not a Socialist Wave

The 2022 midterms were not a “red wave” of socialism — we don’t win by shoehorning capitalist politicians into a leftist mold.

Otto Fors

November 20, 2022

A Weakened Trump Poses as an Alternative for the Working Class in Third Bid for President

Speaking at Mar-a-Lago a week after the failed “red wave” of the midterms, Trump made an appeal to all those spurned by neoliberalism and feeling the effects of inflation to rally behind his xenophobic, transphobic, and pro-capitalist agenda.

Madeleine Freeman

November 16, 2022

MOST RECENT

Sorry Jacobin, But Crushing Rail Workers’ Right to Strike Is Not Progressive

Jacobin’s Branko Marcetic is applauding progressive Democrats like AOC and Jamaal Bowman for their vote to force rail workers to accept a contract they explicitly rejected on terms that are not even close to their original demands.

James Dennis Hoff

December 1, 2022

“Grueling Working Conditions and Low Wages”: A Testimonial from a UPS Warehouse Worker

Workers in UPS warehouses are among the most precarious workers in the logistics industry. As the 2023 Teamsters contract negotiations approaches, a UPS warehouse worker speaks out about his working conditions and calls for unity in struggle among UPS drivers and warehouse workers.

Nehuen Latif

November 30, 2022
Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco. Logo on a grey building.

Workers Built Twitter — They Should Own It, Not Elon Musk

Corporations like Twitter cannot function without the workers who do the daily labor.

Kyle Thibodeau

November 27, 2022

What Will Communism Look Like in New York City?

The new novel Everything for Everyone tells the story of a global insurrection against capitalism starting in 2052. It's not only entertaining — it's a good opportunity to think about revolutionary strategy.

Nathaniel Flakin

November 23, 2022