Monday, March 17, 2014

AHEM sets strike authorization vote for April 17

COON RAPIDS, Minn. March 17, 2014 – The teachers in the state’s largest school district will vote April 17 on whether to go on strike against the Anoka-Hennepin school district.

The 80 members of the Representative Assembly of Anoka Hennepin Education Minnesota voted Monday to put the question of a strike to their colleagues next month at the National Sports Center in Blaine.

“We still hope to negotiate an affordable contract that’s good for our students and our profession,” said Julie Blaha, president of Anoka Hennepin Education Minnesota. “Unfortunately, our negotiations are stuck. We need to finally get the district’s decision makers to the table.”

Negotiators from the district and AHEM have met 16 times during the past nine months and failed to reach an agreement. The key issues have been health insurance, compensation and a district proposal to change the salary schedule in a way that targets young teachers.

No members of the school board have attended any bargaining sessions.

“We’ve been trying really hard to find a compromise that removes all the uncertainty in the budget for next year while being fair to both our newest teachers and most experienced members,”Blaha said, “but for our negotiators, it sure seems like the district doesn’t feel any urgency to get this done.”

No additional bargaining sessions are scheduled. However, the two sides may go back to the table at any time.

Next Steps:
·       Informational meetings: AHEM will schedule informational meetings with teachers prior to the vote. The details will be shared as they become available.
·       The vote: All members of our bargaining unit are eligible to vote. The specific schedule and options for absentee voting will be shared as soon as it is determined.
·       Vote results: If a majority of those voting vote yes, the AHEM Executive Board has the authority to call a strike in the future. The board is not obligated to call an immediate strike.
·       Notice of a Strike: If a strike is authorized by the members and if the AHEM Executive Board calls a strike, the union must give the district formal notice of its intent to strike. A mandatory 10 day cooling off period follows. A strike could begin at any time during the 15 days after the cooling off period.
·       Negotiations: The AHEM Bargaining Team will work toward a settlement. A tentative agreement that makes progress on our priorities will halt this process toward a strike.