Leaders from the Minneapolis Public School district are requesting that contract negotiations be settled through mediation with the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers union. The process would bring in a third-party to work with the two sides and help them resolve the issues and create a new contract in the most efficient way possible.
The current contract expired at the end of June, but according to state law, teachers must work under the expired contract until a new one is created. Union representatives are upset because teachers do not current “know the terms under which they are working”. School officials say mediation will accomplish this faster and that the district’s budget deficit was also a factor in the district asking for mediation to resolve the matter.
Michelle Wiese, president of the teacher’s union, was critical of the decision to request mediation. In a statement to the public, she said “…it was no surprise that district leaders filed for mediation immediately after a negotiation session attended by over 100 parents, educators, community members and the press. Filing for mediation is a clear signal that your administration does not want to engage in open and public discussions around the issues that matter most to families and students”.
According to Weise, the union has a 10-point bargaining platform that includes fewer students in each classroom and a $15 minimum wage for all employees in the school district. She also stated that the district and union need to work together to preserve the district because of the current political climate.