Union campaign to lift pay for Milwaukee classroom aides takes a sour turn

Erin Richards:

A campaign by the Milwaukee teachers union to increase the wages of educational assistants started friendly but turned sour this week, with union members saying they were frustrated at not being heard and the school board president saying there would be no raises.

At least not right now.

Milwaukee School Board President Michael Bonds said Friday that the board would not be giving educational assistants a 1.46% base-building wage increase, but that the administration would conduct a review of the salaries of all lower-wage workers.

That decision came after an unusual exchange at the school board meeting Thursday night, where union members took control after the Pledge of Allegiance. Public testimony isn’t allowed at full board meetings, so the small crowd stood up and chanted their desire for raises for about two minutes. They ended by asking each board member to “vote against poverty wages.”