Teacher Strike in Minneapolis Public Schools Comes to a Close

By Juliana Puccini
April 6, 2022

The Minneapolis Federation of Teachers (MFT) went on strike on March 8 after unsettled negotiations over wage increases, smaller class sizes, exemptions for teachers of color from seniority-based layoffs, and mental health support. MFT represents about 4,500 teachers and support professionals within Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS).

Minneapolis Public Schools reached tentative agreements early on March 25 with the union representing its teachers and support staff. MFT members voted over the following weekend to approve the contracts. Teachers voted overwhelmingly in support of the new contracts. Minneapolis Public Schools sent the following email to parents Sunday night.

Dear MPS Families,

Students will return to their classrooms on Tuesday, March 29 after members of the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers (MFT) voted today to ratify the tentative contract agreement and agreed to plans for returning to work.

As part of the agreement, Monday, March 28 will be a transition day for teachers and educational support professionals (ESPs) to prepare for the return of students.

The following schedule changes were also agreed upon by MPS and MFT to make up missed time:

Students will attend school on Friday, April 1– moving the currently scheduled teacher record-keeping day to Saturday, April 23.

Beginning on Monday, April 11, add 42 minutes to each school day for the remainder of the school year.

Change the date for the end of Quarter 3 to Thursday, April 21; change the date for the beginning of Quarter 4 to Friday, April 22.

Extend the end of the school year to Friday, June 24.

Thank you for your continued patience. Please continue to visit our webpage for updates.

Because of the interruption to the school year that the strike caused, the school board voted on changes made to the school calendar during a business meeting held on March 30. Those changes include adding 42 minutes to the end of each school day once students return from spring break and tacking on an additional two weeks to the school year in June. Such changes will make up for lost class time during the strike. According to Kare 11, “MPS says it is considering distance learning as an option for students and families as they navigate toward the extended portion of the school semester.” Check out this article for an in-depth review of the Tuesday, March 30 School Board Meeting.

Mara Klecker and Emma Nelson from The Star Tribune were able to meet with many school teachers to discuss the strike and its effects as both students and teachers return to the classroom. Principal Angie Ness from Lake Harriet Community School states, “It feels like one big celebration . . . The last three weeks were challenging for everyone, but this is a chance to process what our future looks like and move forward with the bonds that were created. We know there were many different feelings, but now it’s about coming together as a school community.” Many teachers who were on strike would agree that these tough decisions were all for the kids. Supported teachers will be better teachers.

As teachers fight for wages and other support, the district's 28,700 students have been out of school for three weeks. Now, they return to the classroom.