SEIU Local 284 and the District Have Been Negotiating for 9 Months
Mounds View, Minn – Nearly 400 paraeducators in Mounds View Public Schools who are members of SEIU Local 284 voted to authorize a 24-hour strike if talks between the union and the district continue to stall. The authorization was approved with 80.7% vote support with over 89.7% of members taking part in the vote over the three-day voting period that ended Thursday evening. The bargaining team would have to give a 10-day notice for any strike. No strike date has been set.
No group has held a strike vote in Mounds View Public Schools for over 40 years. The two sides have been bargaining for nine months, during which time they have held 9 bargaining sessions (including 4 days of mediation), with 2 negotiation sessions cancelled by the District. The sticking points of bargaining include health insurance, keeping the option to have pay split over 12 months, paid prep time, and consistent access to Individual Education Plan (IEP) goals, objectives, and accommodations to ensure Special Ed paras can best support their students. So far the district has refused to move on these critical issues that would help the paraeducators and the students they work with every day.
Cathy Springhorn, a paraeducator in Mounds View Schools, shared why she voted yes to authorize the strike.
“Paras are the people who always put others before themselves. But now we’re standing up in a way we never have before. We deserve to get the same health insurance as everyone else, and we need the tools to make sure every student reaches their highest potential.”
The group includes Special Ed Paraeducators, Instructional Paraeducators, Community Ed Building Supervisors, Supervisory Paraeducators, Clerical Paraeducators, LMC Paraeducators (Library paras), Admin Paraeducators, Behavior Managers, Pool Paraeducators and Licensed Health Care Specialists (RN/LPN).
The bargaining unit contains nearly 400 educators at 22 different schools and programs: Area Learning Center, Bel Air Elementary, Bridges, Chippewa MS, CLT-SV, CLT-TL, Early Childhood Education Center, Edgewood MS. Highview MS, Irondale HS, Island Lake Elementary, Mounds View HS, Nets, Pike Lake Kindergarten Center, Pike Lake Early Childhood, Pinewood Elementary, Reach, Snail Lake Kindergarten Center, Snail Lake Early Childhood, Sunnyside Elementary, Turtle Lake Elementary and Valentine Hills Elementary.
This vote comes as 4,000 janitors across the metro and 3,500 St. Paul educators are set to go on strike in the next week if they don’t reach a new contract.
The two sides are back in mediation on March 31st.