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UPDATED: Rights and Responsibilities for Non-Striking Bargaining Groups

March 9, 2020
TO: SPPS Colleagues
RE: Work status, procedures, responsibilities and behavior expectations during a strike.

Dear Colleagues, 
You are receiving this email because you are a member of a bargaining group that is not represented by the Saint Paul Federation of Educators (SPFE). If the District and SPFE do not come to an agreement by the end of today’s mediation session, SPFE has announced it will strike on Tuesday, March 10, 2020.

While we remain hopeful a settlement will be reached, the possibility of a strike is growing stronger. 

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 families 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 staff will report to your regular work site between 7:45-8 a.m. on Strike Day 1
  • Most staff will receive temporary reassignments to serve kids
  • All staff should be reminded the following:
    • Follow processes for reporting harassment provided in previous district-wide communications
    • Follow and check your email for ongoing updates
      regarding negotiations All staff are expected to wear their SPPS ID at all locations you are reporting to on all days

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. 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. 
  5. 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 these instructions:
    1. Do not engage in adversarial conversation or actions
    2. Leave the area immediately after crossing
    3. Notify your supervisor if you are having problems crossing the picket line
    4. If driving, come to a complete stop before proceeding through a picket line. Failure to do so is a violation of state law. 
  6. 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. 
  7. 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. 
  8. 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. 

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. 
Kenyatta McCarty, Executive Director
Human Resources