Denver teachers vote to authorize first strike in 25 years

Hundreds of teachers in Denver, Colo., home to the largest school district in the state, have decided to go on strike on Monday for the first time in 25 years. 

The Denver Classroom Teachers Association, which is comprised of about two-thirds of the 5,600 public educators employed by Denver Public Schools, announced on Tuesday night that its educators voted overwhelmingly to strike for fair wages, The Denver Post reported.

“Tonight, Denver teachers overwhelmingly agreed to strike,” Rob Gould, the lead negotiator of the union, is quoted by the Post as saying at a news conference this week.

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“Ninety three percent voted to strike. They’re striking for better pay. They’re striking for our profession. And they’re striking for Denver students,” he continued.

The move reportedly comes after weeks of bargaining sessions over a new contract over Denver teachers’ compensation resulted in a $8 million pay gap between the school district and its teachers union. 

“I was hoping and praying it wouldn’t come to this,” Nik Arnoldi, a visual arts teacher at Escalante-Biggs Academy who also voted in favor of the strike, told the newspaper. “I’m worried for my kids, and I hope they’re in good hands, but we need to do this for them.”

The district’s superintendent, Susana Cordova, told the Post she wished it “had been a different outcome” shortly after the strike announcement but added that she remains “committed to working with our teachers.” 

“Any time there are negotiations, it’s important we continue to see common ground,” she added.

District officials and union leaders are reportedly scheduled to meet with Colorado Gov. Jared PolisJared Schutz PolisColorado restaurant that reopened against state order closes permanently Exclusive: Poll shows pressure on vulnerable GOP senators to back state and local coronavirus aid Colorado police investigating after car drives through crowd of protestors MORE (D) on Wednesday over the matter. Both the district and the union have reportedly said they would be willing to resume negotiations over wages in hopes of finding a solution before the planned strike on Monday.

The report comes a week after thousands of Los Angeles public school teachers went on strike for the first time in 30 years.

Los Angeles teachers later reached a tentative deal to end a strike after it stretched into its second week on Tuesday.