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St. Paul educators vote to strike

On February 15, the St. Paul Federation of Educators (SPFE), the union representing teachers and educational assistants working in St. Paul Public Schools (SPPS), voted to authorize a strike. 

The vote allows union leaders to file an intent to strike 10 days from the first planned day of the collective action.

SPFE and SPPS leaders have been negotiating their new contract for months, agreeing in December to mediation. 

At issue in the contract negotiations are wages, health benefits and classroom support for teachers like size limits, restorative practices and student mental health support.

SPPS said in a statement that just because it has been authorized a strike will happen.

“This vote does not mean there will be a strike, nor does SPPS believe that a strike is necessary in order to meet the needs of our students, families and staff. SPFE and SPPS have been negotiating these contracts since September and agreed to seek mediation in December. Four full-day mediation sessions have taken place this month, and two more full days of mediation are scheduled for Feb. 23 and March 1,” they said.

SPFE leaders said that over two-thirds of their members voted last month, with 92.4% voting “yes” to authorize the strike.

SPPS claims that much of the impasse comes from a $107.7 million budget shortfall projected for next year.

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