Ready-to-Strike Denver Teachers to Rally Today, Negotiate With DPS Tomorrow

A photo from the Denver Classroom Teachers Association Facebook page.
A photo from the Denver Classroom Teachers Association Facebook page.
Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

It's going to be a busy couple of days for the Denver Classroom Teachers Association union, whose members have overwhelmingly voted to strike against Denver Public Schools.

First, the DCTA formally responded to a DPS request that the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment block a walkout by asking that the state refrain from interfering.

Then the union made plans to rally today, January 30, on the steps of the State Capitol. And finally, the association has agreed to a renewed negotiation session with the school district tomorrow.

During an interview with Westword published on January 22, union negotiator Rob Gould foresaw the DPS's reaction in the event of a vote to strike. He predicted that "the district will contact the Department of Labor, and that may push us back some time as we work with them." He didn't object to such a development, stressing, "We want to talk. Nobody wants a strike."

DCTA chief negotiator Rob Gould in a Facebook video explaining why he voted to strike.
DCTA chief negotiator Rob Gould in a Facebook video explaining why he voted to strike.

Nonetheless, the union acted quickly when faced with potential state intervention. Here's an excerpt from its Labor Department response:

The DCTA bargaining unit, which is comprised of 5,700 teachers and specialized service providers (“SSPs”), including licensed nurses, has spent years attempting to come to agreement with DPS on a fair and comprehensible salary schedule. DCTA members are in a precarious situation, having voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike, and yet continuing to work under the oppressive scrutiny of an employer whose heavy-handed attempts to intimidate and discourage them from exercising their legal right to participate in a work stoppage grows more intense by the day. For that reason, and for the reasons more fully set forth herein, DCTA urges the Director not to intervene, and to issue a forthwith order freeing the educators to exercise their right to strike.

In the meantime, students across the district have voiced their support for teachers, whose main issues focus on pay.

See the following video, in which one teen from East High School asks the following questions of the district: "What is executive management? Why are there 38 people in DPS with this title, and why are they making at least $136,000 a year?"

A twist arrived on January 29, when Chalkbeat reported that the union and the district would renew negotiations on the 31st.

A post shared at 5:55 p.m. yesterday on the DCTA Facebook page pushed back against this assertion. It reads: "Despite a report by Chalkbeat, we have not confirmed a bargaining date with the District. DPS suggested Tuesday or Wednesday to our team on Sunday, but our team was not available until Thursday. We are waiting for a response from them about that date. We will announce as soon as we finalize a date and location."

Seven minutes later, at 6:02 p.m., a new post pivoted. "Well, look at that," it begins. "We just got an email from DPS confirming bargaining on Thursday. Apparently, communicating with the press was more important for them. Can't wait to see everyone at Acoma beginning at 5 p.m. on Thursday."

The reference above is to 1617 South Acoma Street, where the get-together will take place for what is currently scheduled as a three-hour conversation. "This meeting will be open to the public and all are encouraged to attend," the Facebook events page for the gathering stresses.

In the meantime, what's been dubbed the "DCTA Strong Rally and March" is expected to get under way at 4:30 p.m. today. The intro to the demonstration's page reads: "We will meet on the west steps of the Capitol to demand fair pay for educators! March to central administration begins at 5. Wear your red for ed and your signs! It’s a great idea to carpool or take public transport, if possible. See you there!"

Click to read the Denver Classroom Teachers Association response to the Division of Labor and supporting exhibits.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.