Rights and Responsibilities for Non-Striking Bargaining Groups

  • February 8, 2018 

    TO: Non-striking employees

    RE: Work status, procedures, responsibilities and behavior expectations during a strike.


    Dear Colleagues,

    If you are a member of a bargaining group that is not represented by SPFT: 

    Despite the District’s efforts to reach a contract agreement with SPFT (which represents Teachers, Educational Assistants, and School and Community Service Professionals), SPFT has given Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) official Notice of Intent to Strike.

    SPFT has announced it will strike on Feb. 13, 2018, unless the parties reach an agreement before that date.

    Throughout the bargaining and mediation process, the District has offered SPFT employees the same level of wage and benefit increase offered to other employee bargaining groups.

    If a strike occurs, all non-striking staff should continue to serve our students and families. We anticipate that you will respect the rights of others while continuing to serve students and parents of our community. The District will monitor and hold all striking and non-striking employees accountable for proper behavior and conduct.

    In the event that a strike commences, all non-striking employees will be required to report to work as usual.

    This letter is to advise you, as a non-striking employee, of your responsibilities and obligations under the law and as an employee of SPPS during the strike period.   

    1. As a public employee you are required to cross any picket lines, report to your work site and perform all responsibilities as required by your employer. This does not apply if you are on authorized leave, are laid off or ordered to the contrary.
    2. Your supervisor may require you to perform other duties during this period in order to maintain the operation, health and safety of all employees and, most important, the students, parents and the community we serve.
    3. “Sympathy strikes” by employees in units not on strike are illegal and employees who illegally strike are subject to termination or other disciplinary action. If a strike occurs and you have a legitimate reason for being absent from work, notify your supervisor immediately and obtain approval for that absence. All absences will be monitored and verification will be required at the discretion of the District.
    4. Paid and unpaid leaves of absence previously approved or underway at the time of a strike may be discontinued at the discretion of the District. Future granting of such leaves will be decided on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the needs of the District during the strike period. Satisfactory evidence of entitlement to such leave may be required.
    5. Sick and disability leave may be granted during a strike to non-striking employees, but the District will require acceptable medical evidence to substantiate the illness or injury.
    6. If the District finds it necessary to lay off non-striking employees during the strike period you may be eligible for reemployment insurance benefits under Minnesota law.
    7. How to Cross a Picket Line: Pursuant to Minnesota Law, it is unlawful for employee organizations, their agents or representatives, and public employees to prevent an employee from providing services to the employer. When crossing a picket line, observe theses instructions:
    • Do not engage in adversarial conversation or actions
    • Leave the area immediately after crossing
    • Notify your supervisor if you are having problems crossing the picket line
    • If driving, come to a complete stop before proceeding through a picket line. Failure to do so is a violation of state law.

    8. Notify your supervisor immediately, in writing, if you are threatened or harassed, or if strikers attempt to intimidate you because you are reporting to work.

    We are confident that this strike action will soon be resolved. If you have any questions regarding the information in this letter, please contact your supervisor for clarification.

    Thank you for your attention to this important matter.


    Laurin J. Cathey

    Executive Director

    Human Resources