News by VICE

Denver teachers’ first strike in 25 years is over

"This agreement is a win, plain and simple, for our students; for our educators; and for our communities," said the union president.

by Rex Santus
Feb 14 2019, 3:23pm

The Denver teachers' strike is over.

The Denver Classroom Teachers Association announced Thursday morning that their union had reached a tentative agreement with school district negotiators to end the city’s first teachers' strike in 25 years. The marathon bargaining session went late into the night.

The deal, which still must be ratified by union members, includes a host of wins for teachers, such as:

  • 7 to 11 percent increases in salary minimums
  • a 20-step salary schedule that starts at $45,800 and tops out at $100,000
  • an end to what the union calls “exorbitant” five-figure bonuses for senior administrators
  • a reformed pay system that no longer forces teachers to rely on “unstable bonuses,” according to the union, as a substitute for low pay
  • the opportunity to use professional development courses to move ahead on the salary schedule

"This agreement is a win, plain and simple, for our students; for our educators; and for our communities," said Denver Classroom Teachers Association President Henry Roman in a statement Thursday.

"No longer will our students see their education disrupted because their teachers cannot afford to stay in their classrooms."

The Denver teachers union walked out of classrooms this week after 15 months of failed negotiations to secure better wages and benefits for its 2,600 members.

“Denver’s kids are the biggest winners in today’s agreement,” Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, said in a statement. “And I think everyone is relieved that the strike is over, and students and teachers will be back in school working together to build a brighter future for themselves and our community.”

As part of a resurgent labor movement among U.S. teachers, educators in West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Kentucky staged walkouts and strikes last year to win better wages and benefits.

Cover image: An instructor cheers while wielding a placard during a march to Denver Public Schools headquarters to deliver Valentine Day cards Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)