White teachers will be the first to lose their jobs under a deal struck by a Minneapolis union
White teachers will be the first to be fired if job cuts are required at public schools in Minneapolis, Minnesota - regardless of their seniority or effectiveness in the classroom, according to a new collective bargaining agreement that the local school district signed with its union.
Starting next spring in Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS), non-white teachers will be protected when funding cuts, such as those related to declining enrollment, translate into firings. The agreement with the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers (MFT) union was signed last March, ending a three-week strike, but the racial provision was exposed in a report on Sunday by the local outlet Alpha News.
"If excessing a teacher who is a member of a population underrepresented among licensed teachers in the site, the district shall excess the next least senior teacher who is not a member of an underrepresented population," the new labor contract reads. "Excessing" means reducing staff when enrollment declines at a particular school.
Such firings are normally based on seniority, meaning the last teacher hired will be the first one let go. The new labor agreement not only exempts non-white teachers from that threat - at least until the district runs out of white employees to fire - it also stipulates that previously laid-off staffers from "underrepresented populations" will be first to get hired back when there are opportunities for reinstatement.
The school district and the union justified the firing of teachers based on skin color by suggesting that it would compensate for past wrongs.
"Past discrimination by the district disproportionately impacted the hiring of underrepresented teachers in the district, as compared to the relevant labor market and the community, and resulted in a lack of diversity of teachers," according to the contract.
An MPS spokesperson told Fox News Digital on Monday that the district and its union "mutually agreed" to the new contract language to "remedy the continuing effects of past discrimination." The union claimed that race-based preferences will help improve the quality of education in Minneapolis schools.
"Students need educators who look like them and who they can relate to," the MFT said in its summary of the contract. "This language gives us the ability to identify and address issues that contribute to disproportionately high turnover of educators of color."
Demographic figures suggest that the racial makeup of school staffing is roughly in line with the population of Minneapolis. Whites account for 63% of the city's population and hold less than 67% of jobs in the school district, according to US Census Bureau and MPS figures. Blacks account for 19% of the population and 18% of school staffing.