Anoka-Hennepin teachers are backing off strike talk after a productive session at the bargaining table Thursday, the head of their union said.
Julie Blaha, president of Anoka Hennepin Education Minnesota, said the negotiating team will recommend postponing discussion of a possible strike-authorization vote scheduled for Monday.
The district’s 3,000 teachers also have agreed to suspend an ongoing “work-to-rule” action, in which they have done only what can be completed during the school day and is required by their contract. Teachers stopped grading papers they haven’t graded during the day, for example, or checking e-mails and voluntarily attending after-school events.
“We’re making progress, and we are looking forward to rolling up our sleeves and seeing what we can do at our next session,” Blaha said.
School district officials and union negotiators will meet with a mediator again the week of March 10. The two sides have been negotiating for more than eight months. In December, teachers had asked for 2.5 percent raises in each year of a two-year contract. The district had offered less. Teachers’ salaries in the district start at $37,000 and top out at $80,000 for those with more than 20 years of experience and advanced degrees.