United for Equity and Respect
Voting begins today, and we have never seen so much unity and strength in our union of 400 paraeducators. We are standing up for ourselves, our coworkers, and our students, like we never have before.
In their letter today, the District highlighted that paras are asking more than other groups. Of course we are asking more–when you start behind everyone else, at some point the only way to catch up is to ask for more, and get it.
And the District is without question in a good financial position. We’ve never advocated for levy funds to be directed towards paras, but we have argued that it’s time for the District to invest in our paras. With a booming economy and $27 million in unrestricted funds… if not now, when? And if Fridley, White Bear Lake, and Columbia Heights can have health insurance equity, why can’t Mounds View?
We expect to see a give and take in negotiations. But in 8 months, we have seen the District move literally from 1% wage increase each year to 1.25%. They have shown virtually no movement on the issues important to paras, including many that are non-financial: keeping our equal paychecks, snow days, health insurance equity, and consistent tools to ensure students reach their highest potential.
We would love to be in productive, face-to-face negotiations that respect the voices of paras. But the District slammed the brakes, filing for mediation unusually early in the process. Although we proposed a number of dates for mediation in March–including this very week–the District told us different members of their team were on vacation and unavailable until March 31.
It’s no coincidence that this message was sent the night before a historic strike authorization vote in the Mounds View School District. We will not allow ourselves to be divided.
Paraeducators are deserving of respect, equity, and professionalism, like anyone else in the District. The time is now.
—Your elected bargaining team: Jane Anderson, Jean Gjovik, Melissa Grewe, Naomi Hard, MelAnie Jesse, John Knutson, Pamela Pearson, Anna Pease, Miyuki Watson, Margaret Young, Margaret Dove (Steward), Cathy Springhorn (Steward), John Taylor (Steward), Beverly Tinney (Steward), Adam Ward (Steward)