Bargaining Brief 10/4/17

PPS Continues to Submit Incomplete and Inaccurate Bargaining Proposals

After months of exchanging bargaining proposals, Laird Cusack, the PPS bargaining chair, continues to submit inaccurate and incomplete bargaining proposals. The PPS proposals do not consistently employ standard contract writing processes which would show when current contract language is deleted or when new language is added. Therefore, your PAT team has been forced to review every word submitted in each PPS proposal. We have found random words missing inside paragraphs of contract language that are not being amended or discussed. We have also found whole sections of the current contract that simply disappeared without any notation that the language was eliminated. Additionally, PPS has failed to track past interest based bargaining consensus agreements and include them in the PPS proposals. Finally, PPS routinely deletes its past proposals including areas where we have moved to agreement. Laird routinely has failed to remember past conversations and proposals that have resolved certain portions of the contract. This forces PAT to research the bargaining history around these lost agreements and/or restart the conversations that led to the original solutions. All of this has stalled the bargaining process.

PPS routinely Inserts new Bargaining Issues in Violation of the Law

It is a per se violation of the state collective bargaining law for a bargaining party to introduce new issues into the process after mediation has begun. Nevertheless, PPS persists in including new bargaining issues almost every bargaining session. This has forced PAT to have OEA issue a letter objecting to the new bargaining issues and threatening PPS with an unfair labor practice charge if the new issues are not withdrawn. At our last mediation session, PPS withdrew several of the new proposals, but also left new proposals in the complaint procedure and personnel files articles in open defiance of the law.

PPS Re-employs Failed Bargaining Maneuver to Try to Force PAT to Drop Workload/ Class-size/ Caseload issues

PPS has reissued a letter to PAT demanding that PAT withdraw its contract proposals over workload, class size/caseload, and the number of distinct preparations at the secondary level. The District used the same strategy (declaring certain bargaining proposals “permissive” and refusing to bargain over them) in the last negotiations that almost led to a strike. At that time PAT was forced to create alternate packages to continue to advocate for the Schools Portland Students Deserve. PAT disagrees that its current proposals are “permissive” and need to be rewritten. Your bargaining team is reviewing its options on how to address the District’s latest legal maneuver. If PAT does decide to create alternate packages in response to the District’s maneuver, this may once again delay bargaining.

Next Mediation Session Is Scheduled for October 11th

The fourth mediation session is scheduled on October 11th. Before the district created its latest obstacles for forward progress, the teams were working on:

  • ·         tracking past agreements,
  • ·         resolving the transfer article and all related grievances,
  • ·         gathering financial information to have joint data points on costing proposals, and
  • ·         resolving the insurance article and PERS Bubble section of the retirement article.

PAT is facing two problems with continued bargaining. First, we are making package bargaining proposals. That means that we give a complete package proposal each time we make a change. In order to submit a new package proposal, we first need to decide whether we will create alternate packages. Second, we are dealing with a PPS proposal that continues to include new proposals in violation of the law. That increases the number of issues to resolve to get to an agreement, and unfairly allows the district to change the balance of unsettled bargaining issues.

No new PAT Proposals Are Allowed!

It goes without saying that it would be inconsistent to introduce new issues in bargaining at the same time we are challenging the District’s strategy to include new bargaining issues. Several members have offered new ideas to interject into the process, but we are not allowed to include them. Your bargaining team will save the ideas for the next bargain and share them with your leadership team to see if there are other ways to advocate for the issues outside of bargaining.