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Northland teachers see progress on contracts
Feb 12, 2024
Teachers across the Northland have been putting the pressure on administrations to settle overdue contracts — and they’re getting results.
In the Hermantown School District, Local 1096 President Katie Marciniak said the union was on the path for a TA for the 145 or so teachers in the school district after more than 200 days of working without a contract.
“We had a negotiating session on the 31st and we went back and forth for awhile,” she said. The agreement was scheduled to be on the consent agenda meeting minutes for the February 12 meeting.
That proposal was a 6 percent increase in year one and 3 in year two and makes a “pretty significant” progress in closing the gap between proposals for coverage for family insurance.
“I’m cautiously optimistic, it’s a huge victory for folks who have been here a long time,” Marciniak said.
Marciniak credited both activated members and the community for their efforts throughout the process. “It was a pretty organized effort to engage members in shows of solidarity,” she said, including informational pickets, pamphleting and wearing specific colors on certain days as a visible reminder of teacher unity. They also encouraged people to attend negotiating meetings and community members to attend and speak at school board meetings
Up the shore in the Lake Superior School District, Chris Belanger, president of Education Lake Superior, said the union and district will be going to mediation in March. “We’re down to two financial items — some 403(b) cap changes and some percentage in pay.”
Belanger said they have met five times with the district and the union has always had a good relationship and communication with the board. “What we’re asking is to dip into the fund balance a little bit to help us out,” he said. “Over the past 10 years, we’re more than 9 percent below what inflation has been, and that’s our basis for sticking to what we’re asking.”
The board was scheduled to meet Tuesday, Feb. 13, and the union planned on holding a rally and cookout before the meeting. Check www.laborworld.org for updates.
“We’re not asking the world,” Belanger said. “We’re asking for what’s in line with the average of contracts that are being settled around the state, which is 4.5 percent the first year and 3.25 the second. In our region, it’s almost a total package of 8 percent. None of that is anywhere near the 9 percent gap between inflation and what we have.”
The union is encouraging people to email the Lake Superior School District board to urge them to negotiate a fair and competitive contract.
The Duluth Federation of Teachers has been in negotiations with the Duluth School Board as well. Check www.laborworld.org for updates.

Labor World Newspaper
2002 London Rd, Ste 110
Duluth, MN 55812

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