October 1, 2013

Educators 4 Excellence-Minnesota members call on union and district leaders to keep Minneapolis and St. Paul contract negotiations open to public

Closing Contract Negotiations During Mediation Denies Teachers and Public Meaningful Transparency into How Their Schools are Run

October 1, 2013 (Minneapolis, MN)—As contract talks between union and district officials in Minneapolis and St. Paul head towards mediation, Educators 4 Excellence – Minnesota members call on both sides to keep the process open to the public. Contract talks in Minneapolis and in St. Paul are expected to be closed to the public after mediation was requested in both sessions. E4E-MN’s 365 members say that holding the negotiations behind closed doors would eliminate transparency and deny them the opportunity to have meaningful input into the direction of their profession.

“There is so much riding on the outcome of these conversations. Teachers and the public deserve to know the details under consideration,” said Madaline Edison, Executive Director of E4E-MN. “From higher standards to new evaluation systems, the teaching profession is changing rapidly and teachers want to play a role in shaping the way those policies are implemented. A public negotiation is their chance to do that.”

“It’s time to change the way we do business around negotiations,” Edison added. “ For decades, negotiations have quickly turned into closed-door mediation, which lead to incremental change that does not match the urgency necessary to improve outcomes for our students and close the opportunity gaps that exist in the Twin Cities.”

An open and transparent negotiation will:

  • Provide opportunities for teachers to learn about their contract and provide input to union and district leaders
  • Build trust between teachers, their unions, the district, and the community at large
  • Mitigate the political spin and rampant rumors that often result from back door deals
  • Hold all sides accountable for bargaining in good faith
  • Provide the public a more detailed understanding of the major discussion points between our union and district leaders

“As a teacher, I want contract negotiations to remain open because I believe transparency is necessary to build trust amongst all parties in our district,” said Laura Byard, an MPS teacher. “An open and transparent process creates an opportunity to give input into the negotiation process that will affect my contract, my career, and most importantly my students.”