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Rep. Ilhan Omar Joins Teachers In Support Of Their Union Negotiations

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Congresswoman Ilhan Omar joined a crowd of teachers and their supporters Saturday, marching to support them in their union negotiations.

"To the Minneapolis teachers I see you. St. Paul too, but to the Minneapolis teachers who have educated me and are educating my kids, I say thank you," Omar said.

Educators in both St. Paul and Minneapolis will vote this coming week whether to authorize a strike. Teachers say the offers from their districts make them feel undervalued after two years of pandemic teaching. They want to see more staff and smaller class sizes, along with fair and honest wages.

Saturday's march took the crowd from Minnehaha Regional Park in Minneapolis, across the Mississippi River to the Hillcrest Recreation Center in St. Paul.

"We hope to be heard," Leah VanDassor, president of the St. Paul Federation of Educators, said. "It's below zero right now and there's this many people out here. This is an amazing turnout right now, considering the weather we're having, and this shows how much people really care about these issues."

Union members will vote this coming week. If they vote to go on strike, there will be a 10-day cooling off period before any strike can take place.

The union emphasized a strike is the last resort.

Minneapolis Public Schools has not commented on the strike authorization vote.

St. Paul Public Schools posted on its website, "Discussion of a strike creates uncertainty for our staff, families and students. Although we are committed to reaching an agreement before a strike happens, SPPS is planning how best to support all stakeholders during this time."

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