It felt like déjà vu, but PAT Substitutes once again prevailed in an Unfair Labor Practice case at the Oregon Employment Relations Board (ERB). Portland Public Schools was found guilty of “pursuing an unlawful subject of bargaining during its negotiations with Portland Association of Teachers” when it made bargaining proposals that that conflicted with Oregon state law. For months PPS has refused to recognize that the state’s new sick leave law applies to Substitute teachers.
Late last year the ERB ruled in PAT’s favor on this exact issue. But rather than obey the law, or heed the ERB ruling, PPS insisted on filing an appeal, wasting thousands of dollars on legal fees for high-priced outside attorneys. Once again, the three member ERB panel rejected every one of the District’s assertions, and made it clear that when state law says that “all employees of a public school district or an education service district,” are entitled to educator sick leave this includes Substitutes.
Just like full-time educators, Substitutes are also trying to settle their contract with the District over the next few weeks. If PPS has the resources to pay high-priced lawyers to try and skirt state law, it certainly has the resources required to provide a full continuum of special education services or raise salaries enough to bring us in line with our colleagues in neighboring districts.