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March 21, 2024

Paraeducators in the ROCORI School District voted to authorize a strike.

RELEASE❗️❕ Rocori School Employees with SEIU Local 284 Vote with Overwhelming Majority to Authorize Strike if District Administration Refuses to Settle a Fair Contract

News comes as strike wave hits metro this week as over 5,000 SEIU members walked off the job across janitorial and nursing home industries.

Rockville, Cold Spring, and Richmond, MINN – Rocori Independent School District 750 paraeducators with SEIU Local 284 voted recently with an overwhelming majority to authorize a strike if district administration refuses to settle a fair contract. SEIU 284 workers have been bargaining since June 15th and have been clear that any settlement needs to include a fair wage increase to minimize the impact of historic inflation and to maintain their health insurance benefits as they are today. The vote comes as educators like SPFE have authorized strikes (and settled) and over 5,000 janitors and nursing home workers with other SEIU Locals went out on ULP strikes this week.

The group comprises 78 paraeducators who work directly with students, supporting their academic, physical, and social-emotional learning and providing much support to students who receive special education services.

Amber Jacobs, a paraeducator at the District Education Facility, shared what workers are experiencing:

“A lot of paras are frustrated with what the school board thinks is 'fair.' The wage increase they offered does not cover the rising costs of living or the rising costs of our health insurance. As paras, we are already struggling to make ends meet. We need more.”

Maria Spychala, a paraeducator at Secondary, speaks to the issue caused by stagnating wages:

“It's time the district addresses the issue of wage compression for their Paraprofessionals. It is not right that new hires are making close to what those that have been in the district for 6-15 years are making. We are calling on the district to make our years of service to the school and the community count."

SEIU 284 workers hope a strike can be averted. They have a negotiation session scheduled on March 21 with Independent School District 750 Administration. They would have to file a 10-day notice ahead of any potential strike.