Group takes aim at Minneapolis teacher benefits

By Steve Brandt, Star Tribune

An anti-union group based in Michigan has taken aim at some of the fringe benefits in the Minneapolis teacher contract, arguing that they cost teacher jobs.

Nevertheless, group spokesman Steve Gunn said that the Minneapolis contract has fewer such provisions than the Milwaukee contract.
Education Action Group of Muskegon, Mich. argues that Minneapolis would have $21 million more to balance its budget if it eliminated some of the features that make up the $268 million in salaries and benefits for on teachers and others represented by the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers. That’s nearly 8 percent of what the district pays them.
“As expenses have piled up and depleted the fund reserve, MPS has continued to spend a great deal of money on salary, benefits and other perks for employees, particularly those covered by the teachers union collective bargaining agreement,” the group said in its report titled “Sucking the Life Out of America’s Public Schools.”
MFT President Lynn Nordgren fired back.“This is a very shallow and misinformed analysis of an expired contract by an out-of-state, anti-union group that is trying to dismantle public education,” she said. District General Counsel and negotiator Steve Liss agreed.

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