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Anoka Hennepin Education Minnesota: Tentative agreement reached, goes to members for a vote

From the Minneapolis Labor Review, February 17, 2024
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At the conclusion of an 18-hour mediation session running to 3:00 a.m. January 20, negotiations between Anoka Hennepin Education Minnesota and the school district produced a tentative agreement.

The two-year agreement will include 5 percent across-the-board wage increases in the first year and 3 percent in the second year — an increase from the district’s initial offer of 1 percent and 1 percent.

With step and lane increases, the union reported, “many educators will see a 12-17 percent increase over the 2-year contract.”

The agreement came after the union staged a series of weekly mass walk-outs at the end of the school day and also organized several large rallies prior to Anoka Hennepin school board meetings.

“I’m convinced it was because of our actions that we got what we got,” said Val Holthus, AHEM president. She said the district saw that AHEM members were mobilized and ready to strike.

As the Labor Review went to press, AHEM members were scheduled to vote on the tentative agreement February 14-15.

Other highlights of the agreement:

• The agreement moves Early Childhood Family Education teachers to the K-12 salary schedule — “a big thing we’ve been working for for years,” Holthus said. “We were able to do that, which was huge.”

• The district’s contribution for health insurance will increase 5 percent in the first year, with another 5 percent increase for singles and 10 percent for families in the second year.

• New hires will be able to immediately begin contributing to the district’s 403(b) retirement plan, with a district match, instead of first needing to satisfy a waiting period.

[UPDATE: AHEM announced February 26 that members voted to ratify the contract].