ESP Bill of Rights a key part of legislative agenda again
Education Minnesota will once again be introducing an ESP Bill of Rights as legislation this session. The union hopes to push key parts of this package of proposals to have hearings and receive attention.
Everyone who works in public education deserves the same things. Respect for their contribution to the care and education of our students. Fair compensation for their work, including affordable health care. Safe working conditions. Unfortunately, most education support professionals don’t get enough of any of those.
The Bill of Rights includes proposals that would help ESPs in Minnesota receive pay and benefits to sustain a family, safe work environments and voice and respect on the job.
Pay and benefits to sustain families
- Every school employee should have the right to spend time at home with their own children, without surviving paycheck-to-paycheck and working two or three extra jobs.
- Require school districts and charter schools to pay their ESPs at least $20 an hour. Every school employee should have the right to spend time at home with their own children, without working two or three extra jobs to survive.
- Help educators and all Minnesotans get high quality, affordable health care. This includes allowing people to buy into MinnesotaCare and fighting for other public options.
- Provide up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave for all workers through a payroll deduction and employer tax.
- Defend the law that protects workers from wage theft and crack down on employers who circumvent wage and benefit standards and laws, don’t pay overtime, etc.
Safe work environments
Many of our ESPs are working with students with disruptive and sometimes violent behavior. Just like every student deserves a safe learning environment, every educator deserves a safe working environment.
- Fund 16 hours of mandatory training for paraprofessionals who directly work with students before students report every fall.
Voice and respect on the job
ESPs work closely with our students inside and outside the classroom. They should have a seat at the table when decisions are made about their schools and profession.
- Establish reporting and transparency requirements to identify issues of concern for ESPs on the worksite. This could include staffing levels, pay scale, safety, fair scheduling, etc.
Help us push for ESP issues at the Capitol
All ESP members are encouraged to come to the Capitol and share their story at a lobby day. Due to the pandemic, all lobby days for the 2021 Legislature will be held virtually via Zoom.
An ESP-specific lobby day is being planned for later in the session. This will be a time for ESPs across the state to come together and share their stories around these issues and more with legislators. Watch for more details at www.educationminnesota.org/advocacy/at-the-legislature.
If ESPs would like to hold their own virtual lobby days with their legislators, they can be scheduled and coordinated by local union leadership and Education Minnesota staff.
If you are an ESP member interested in testifying on these issues, email firstname.lastname@example.org.