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Commentary
For schools students deserve

From the Minneapolis Labor Review, March 26, 2022

By Chelsie Glaubitz Gabiou, President,
Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation

As I write, the members of the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers and Educational Support Professionals (MFT Local 59) are in the second week of their historic strike to reverse decades of disinvestment in our public schools. This strike will fundamentally change the way we approach the wellbeing of our entire city.

Right now, brave educators are standing up to put basic protections into their contracts, protections that will reverberate throughout the community and create positive impacts far beyond the walls of the buildings where those educators work.

Known for our worst-in-the-nation equity gaps in Minneapolis, educators have had enough of Band-Aid fixes, unkept promises and unenforceable Memoranda of Understanding. For educators, these gaps are not just statistics, they are real people and real lives.

White educators and black educators are working together to re-imagine the future of our schools. We don’t need to keep doing more with less and letting even one child not realize their full potential.

Support those affected by the strike, hold them close. Support our educators and families after a resolution of the strike. And, most importantly, keep fighting into the future for the schools all our students deserve.

Our schools need class size caps, more mental health professionals and a living wage for all Education Support Professionals (ESPs). ESPs are the glue that holds our schools together. They are the most diverse workforce in our schools and an important pipeline for future leadership in our schools and in our community writ large. It is embarrassing that they are not respected in the workplace and are not paid living wages.

The continuous bleeding of resources from our education system has resulted in a reckoning we’ve been watching unfold from the front row. While we have been waving the red flag for years, it has come to this moment in time. And to clarify, this fight is not just about financial resources, it’s about how our education system does business.

Strikes are a very difficult time for everybody. Every day the lines are up, those workers withholding their labor are sacrificing. Families with students are holding it together with shoestrings and gum. But this moment in time will help put a stop to all the sacrificing we’ve been doing for far too long by trying to do more and more with less and less.

Now is the time for Minneapolis to shine with joy, optimism and grit for a better future for our students, our schools and our communities. Support those now affected by the strike, hold them close. Support our educators and our families after a resolution of the strike. And, most importantly, keep fighting into the future for the schools all our students deserve.

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Click here to donate to the MFT strike fund administered by Working Partnerships, the community services arm of the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, AFL-CIO.

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Chelsie Glaubitz Gabiou was re-elected December 11, 2019 to a second four-year term as president of the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, AFL-CIO.

Contact MRLF president Chelsie Glaubitz Gabiou at 612-321-5670 or chelsie@minneapolisunions.org.

 



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