Hourly school workers deserve a paycheck

The challenge of COVID-19 is being felt in every corner of our state and in the everyday lives of Minnesotans. One of the most significant disruptions has been in our schools, where classes can no longer meet in person. Students, teachers, support staff, and administrators have had to put a plan in place for continuing education for the next several weeks. 

Our educators, administrators, and other school workers have met this challenge, and have implemented a statewide distance learning program continuing education for our students. They have also gone above and beyond in supporting our students and families. They have been out there delivering meals and providing support to students and their families by checking in, reaching out, and helping in a thousand different ways. Their support has been unflinching in this crisis.

Though these educators and support staff have stepped up, Senate Republicans have ignored the pleas of thousands of hourly school workers who no longer have the guarantee of a paycheck. Though the Legislature passed a bipartisan $331 million COVID-19 relief package last week, it did not include a single provision related to education in the bill. This is unacceptable. 

Now that we are adjourned, it is likely that the earliest we will be able to address this issue is when we return on April 14. Thousands of Minnesotans are facing anxiety, uncertainty, and the fear of not having the paychecks they need to pay their rent or mortgage or to cover the costs of food or medicine. Only through legislation can we guarantee that the pay expected for these hourly workers will get to them. 

Senate DFLers have heard loud and clear from our educators and support staff, and we stand with them. We are doing everything we can to ensure that hourly workers receive the pay they need and deserve.