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Rocori School Employees File Strike Notice

Updated: Apr 18

UPDATE! A tentative agreement has been reached. Please read that press release here: ROCORI School Employees with SEIU Local 284 File Notice to Strike After an Additional Failed Negotiation Session   Rockville, Cold Spring, and Richmond, MINN – Paraeducators in the ROCORI ISD 750 school district who are members of SEIU Local 284 have filed the required notice with the Bureau of Mediation Services to go on strike if a deal is not reached. The filing of the notice means the group could begin striking anytime between April 19th and May 8th if a deal is not reached. SEIU Local 284 would send out a strike notice forty-eight hours before the planned day if workers go out on strike. 

This step comes after the group voted to authorize a strike in February and failed to reach a settlement with the district during the most recent negotiation session on Thursday, March 21st. 

Julia Konop, a paraeducator at Cold Spring Elementary and member of SEIU Local 284, shared why this step was taken in the fight for a fair contract that respects staff and students in the ROCORI school district: 

"We have been so close to reaching a deal, but we are moving to strike because we are serious about being respected as essential employees of the district. We meet the needs of the students every day and it is time for the district to meet our needs as well."

The district covers schools in the cities of Rockville, Cold Spring, and Richmond in central Minnesota. The group comprises 78 paraeducators who work directly with students, supporting their academic, physical, and social-emotional learning and providing much support to students who receive special education services. 

Kelly Gibbons, Executive Director of SEIU Local 284, shared the union’s desire for the district to step up and reach a fair deal that ensures staff and students have what they need to thrive: 

“These workers were called heroes during COVID, but they aren’t being treated that way at the bargaining table. Workers have come to the table to reach a deal in good faith, and are within reach of a settlement, but the district needs to do what is right and meet them halfway to avoid a strike. We’ve seen other districts in the state do right by their workers in reaching fair deals, and it’s time for ROCORI leaders to do the same. Staff and students in the district deserve the best, and these workers are ready to strike if the district isn’t willing to do what is right.”

Members of SEIU Local 284 have been bargaining since June 15th and have been clear that any settlement needs to include a fair wage increase to minimize the impact of historic inflation and to maintain their health insurance benefits as they are today. 

The group's strike authorization vote in February happened around the same time that over 10,000 workers in the metro, from educators to city workers to janitors, were also voting to authorize strikes, with thousands walking off the job the first week of March. 

SEIU 284 workers are ready to continue negotiations before they walk off the job to reach a fair contract. Mediation is scheduled between the groups for April 24th. You can view 2 school board meetings where this topic was covered here:

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