On November 1st, your PAT Bargaining Team was walking the line with you at our schools and attending the rally at Roosevelt High. Today we were privileged to stand before all the members at the rally in front of the District offices. The solidarity and energy we experienced was overwhelming. We are humbled to be your representatives at the table and acutely feel the responsibility with which you all have entrusted us.
For months, the District bargaining team has dismissed our proposals and been unresponsive to the stories about the conditions in our schools. They didn’t believe we really spoke for all of you when we described workloads that are crushingly high, educator directed time that is way too low, and the many student needs that are going unmet. Neither did they believe that we would strike over these issues. To be fair, collectively we have been filling in the gaps for so long, why should they dedicate resources when they can count on educators to just do more and more and more? On November 1st, 2023, we collectively said: ENOUGH! We have given all we can give. We and our students must be supported NOW!
You may be wondering why we have not been at the table today or yesterday. Make no mistake, your team stands ready to bargain the second management brings a proposal that demonstrates they are FINALLY ready to bargain over your issues. However, we have lost any confidence that the current PPS bargaining team will bargain in good faith. Nor do we believe our Superintendent can be relied on to help move his management team toward engaging with us. It was not until a strike seemed to be imminent that Superintendent Guerrero attended bargaining, and it appears his contribution to the process was to pen a letter asking PAT to delay going on strike. If Superintendent Guerrero wished to avoid a strike, he should have gotten involved in bargaining months ago and joined with us in solving the many problems we aim to address in our proposals.
It now seems clear that we need the ultimate decision makers at the table. When we initially proposed inviting Board members directly into the process, district management told us unequivocally, “no.” We believe the direct participation of the final decision makers are needed to quickly find a resolution. Having no confidence in the District team, we call for members of the School Board to become directly involved in negotiating a fair settlement. We believe, and have confirmed with the state mediator, that Board members have the power to attend bargaining and, therefore, they should exercise this power now to assist in quickly bringing a resolution.
We are told that management will be prepared tomorrow morning to meet with us. Let’s hope the last two days have made management realize the only way to get schools back open is to fully support the people who teach and learn in them. Now that they understand this, they must bring an offer to the table that guarantees class size limits, more planning/grading time, mental health supports and a cost of living adjustment that allows educators to live in the city they serve. We and our students deserve nothing less.
This is not a moment, it’s a movement. And we need to continue to make our demands until they are met.
We will see you again tomorrow on the picket line! Picketing will begin again at 7:45 a.m. at every school in Portland. Please start at your designated picket location so that we can ensure every spot has representation.
Substitute educators should report and sign in at any location. The citywide rally will take place at noon at Lincoln High School. Bring your walking shoes since we will be marching through downtown. Invite your community to join us so that we can highlight the size and might of our support!
IMPORTANT REMINDER: You must check in each day by finding your strike captain and scanning their unique QR code. The form will ask for your address—you must enter this information in order to qualify for your strike relief and receive payment.
If you have questions, please reach out to your strike captain for information. You can also read some of our FAQs here.
When teachers are respected and schools are funded, our students thrive. Tomorrow we will be back at the bargaining table to advocate for a contract that secures a strong future for Portland communities. The fight continues!
Your Bargaining Team
Steve Lancaster, Chair
Ryan Olds, OEA Staff
Angela Bonilla, President