Minneapolis teachers union president: ‘Our fight is against capitalism’

Teachers and supporters began picketing Tuesday morning.

Union president Greta Callahan addresses the media earlier this month after announcing the strike. (Minneapolis Federation of Teachers/Facebook)

The president of the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers said the ongoing strike is about fighting “patriarchy” and “capitalism.”

“Our fight is against patriarchy, our fight is against capitalism, our fight is for the soul of our city,” said President Greta Callahan during a Wednesday rally at the Capitol.

The union wants a share of the state’s projected $9.25 billion surplus.

Teachers and supporters began picketing Tuesday morning at 7:30 a.m., marking the first teachers strike in Minneapolis in more than 50 years.

One of the union’s main demands centers on the pay for support staff. The union claims they make $24,000 per year and would like to see that increased to $35,000.

Teachers, however, earn an average salary of more than $75,000 per year.

The district says it can’t afford to meet all of the union’s demands because it is facing a budget shortfall, even with an infusion of $159.4 million in federal American Rescue Plan funds.

The district’s roughly 30,000 students will be locked out of classrooms for “the duration of the strike.” They have so far missed four days of school. Schools will likely have to start scheduling make-up days, especially if the strike lasts longer than five days, according to the district.