Bargaining Brief, May 11, 2023

Hello Educators,

Today your PAT Bargaining Team met with PPS management for our 8th bargaining session. Luckily, PPS brought several proposals for our team to review.

The District countered our planning time proposal, with an increase of 40 minutes weekly for elementary school educators only, an improvement but not nearly enough. This is far less than our proposal to increase our 320 minutes a week of guaranteed planning time by 120 minutes a week and add additional grading days. They also proposed staff meetings on every Tuesday and no limits on the amount of required online training. 

PPS management rejected our Class Size Caps. They claimed it would require an additional 516.73 FTE even though our caps are higher than or near the average class size numbers given to us by PPS management. For example: PPS management states the average class size is between 19.8 and 22.5 for Elementary (K-5) and PAT’s proposed caps are 23-26. Yet, despite the room between our caps and the average class size, complying with our caps at the Elementary School level would somehow require an increase of 134.38 elementary teachers.  The numbers do not add up.  We will continue to fight for enforceable Class Size Caps and Caseload relief. 

The District countered our comprehensive Special Education Proposal.  Their counter proposal was mostly an agreement to abide by Special Education law.  They stated that Special Education TOSAs are working as mentors for our newest educators. They shared that our contract already provides new Special Educators with mentors; they can just ask for one! Our concern is around equity: Will new, overwhelmed Special Educators actually ask for a mentor when told there are none? We have doubts they will be able to implement this proposal.  

For Early Childhood, we gave our modified Early Childhood proposal after feedback from our Early Childhood Educators. Carolyn Travers discussed the Safety crisis facing Early Childhood and Chelsea Clyde talked passionately about the need for Planning Time to provide our students a high quality experience and comply with performance standards.  We see our Early Childhood proposal as a way to support our youngest learners and their educators, help to implement the Universal Pre-K program for our members and community, and as a way to address declining enrollment in the District. 

Steve Lancaster talked about compensation compared to the cost of living.  Compensation has not kept up with the cost of living, not by a long shot. Highlights of the data he shared can be found here. Over the last three years, PPS educators have received a total of a 10% cost of living adjustment but the cumulative rate of inflation during that time has been over 18%.  Had our COLA’s been equal to inflation, the average educator would have earned over $12,000 more in total salary over the last three years.  It is already difficult to afford to live in Portland, salaries MUST keep pace with inflation to ensure it's possible to live in the city we serve.

False Choices
Throughout the bargaining sessions, the PPS management team continued to assert that PAT needed to choose between salaries that keep pace with inflation and allow them to live in the city they serve, workload relief that would make it possible to achieve a work-life balance, or critical wrap-around services that students desperately need. This is a false choice. Over the past two years the District has continued to have an ending funding balance over 14 percent of their budget, which this last year was almost $99 million. This is money that they can use to hire more professional educators, including mental health clinicians, to support our students AND provide a cost of living increase to salaries for educators and other PPS workers that keeps up with the pace of inflation and allows people to be able to live in Portland. 

We continued to hear the theme of sustainability: Can PPS afford to maintain sustainable, safe, and equitable schools? We ask all of you, can PPS afford not to?

In Solidarity,
Steve Lancaster, Bargaining Chair
Francisca Alvarez
Samara Bockelman
Julia Fogg
Thea Keith
Charity Powell
Portland Association of Teachers

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week

Read on to see some of the offers available to educators this week


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ACTION: 🎉Apply to Join the 2023-24 PAT Advocacy Cadre! 🎉

PAT is seeking members to serve on the 2023-2024 Advocacy Cadre. To apply, fill out this application form by June 27th. Advocacy Cadre is how I started getting involved in PAT outside of my building. The experience was awesome; I met passionate members from other schools, helped members across our district, and became well versed in the contract. I encourage everyone to apply! Scroll down to read more about the PAT Advocacy Cadre.

In Solidarity,
Angela Bonilla
Portland Association of Teachers

What is The PAT Advocacy Cadre? 

This small group of members will work closely with UniServ to become experts on our contract, and will provide member to member support.

The Advocacy Cadre will run a Zoom Advocacy Hotline, where Reps and other members can get immediate answers to questions about the contract and support to resolve problems in their buildings. 

In addition, the Advocacy Cadre will provide support with Rep Training, answer member emails to [email protected], and create materials to help members better understand contract issues.

You can read about the 2021-2022 Advocacy Cadre here:

Cadre Members Commit to:

  • 2 days Advocacy Training on August 14th and 15th. (This will be held either live, or remotely)
  • 1 Zoom Hotline shift a week, during the school year, Mondays, 4:30pm-6:30pm at PAT (Cadre members stay until 7pm). 
  • Additional 3.5 hours/half day up to twice a month to follow up on unresolved member needs from the Hotline shift (release time can be provided).
  • In addition to answering the hotline, this time will include ongoing training and other advocacy work with Uniserv Reps. Additional dates may be added depending on need.
  • This is a minimum 1-year opportunity and commitment, paid at the OEA cadre-rate ($33/hour)


  • Assist Building Representatives and members who come to Zoom Advocacy Hotline;
  • Respond to emails from members;
  • Be a knowledgeable resource about the PAT contract and PAT systems for supporting members in different situations;
  • Follow procedure to inform UniServ reps of issues, determining next steps;
  • Potential additional release time/ pay for ongoing training or representation work;
  • Potential to shadow UniServ Reps on assignment.


  • Active PAT membership;
  • Experience as a PAT building rep or other similar union experience preferred but not mandatory;
  • Interest in continued union advocacy work;
  • Special consideration given to applicants with an interest in pursuing work as a UniServ Consultant or Organizer; 
  • Special consideration given to applicants with characteristics that help create a group that represents the racial diversity of our membership, and of the job-types that our members hold.

Goals for PAT:

  • Build capacity among members to enforce our contract, support member rights, and organize and problem solve in buildings;
  • Develop leadership within PAT that represents the diversity of our membership demographics and workforce positions;
  • Create a pathway toward UniServ work for interested members.

To apply: Fill out the application form by June 27th. Interviews to be scheduled in mid July.

May 15th, ELA Adoption Listening Session

The PAT Instructional Practices and Professional Development (IPD) committee is inviting educators at all grade levels to a listening session about concerns with the new ELA adoptions. The listening session will be on Monday, May 15th at the PAT office from 4:30-6:30PM. Attendees are encouraged to bring books, artifacts, and specific examples from their curriculum. If you cannot attend, you can still leave comments regarding the adoptions in the RSVP form.

Please RSVP by May 12th so we can order enough food for everybody.


This Thursday! Bargaining Cancelled, Time to Rally

Rally for Strong Public Schools!

Dr. Prophet Education Center
Thursday, 4:30PM-6:30PM
Wear Blue! 
Families welcome!
RSVP Here!

Dear Educator,

Late Monday afternoon, PPS management canceled bargaining scheduled for this Thursday. On the agenda: educator compensation. 

This meeting would have been our 8th bargaining session since January, when we first shared our bargaining platform and proposals. By this point in negotiations, we expected to be discussing issues that matter most to educators and coming closer to resolution. Instead, PPS management has come to the bargaining table with little to say about the issues we’ve raised. On the issue of compensation, they’ve suggested that 2.5% cost of living adjustments would be all that it takes to ensure that jobs in PPS are competitive and attractive. 

Hundreds of educators had already RSVP’d yes to attend bargaining this Thursday to show PPS management our unity behind our bargaining team and vision. It is shameful that instead of meeting with educators, they canceled without rescheduling.

PPS Management’s actions mean much more than their words. By canceling bargaining for this Thursday and refusing to discuss the issues most important to educators, they are choosing to run away from us, hoping we’ll give up and give in to their vision.

Here’s what we have to ask ourselves:

  • Are we willing to settle for 2.5% cost of living adjustments?
  • Are we willing to settle for no change in class size or caseloads?
  • Are we willing to settle for the status quo?

If your answer is NO to any of these questions, then we hope you’ll join us for a rally outside of Dr. Prophet Education Center (501 N. Dixon). Let’s make sure PPS Management knows we’re United for Strong Public Schools and refuse to be silenced!

Rally for Strong Public Schools!
Dr. Prophet Education Center
Thursday, 4:30PM-6:30PM
Wear Blue! 
Families welcome!
RSVP Here!

PAT 💙 WEEK OF ACTION ✊🏾 for Safe, Sustainable & Equitable Schools💙✊🏾

Mark your calendars!
PAT Week of Action, April 24th-28th

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PAT 💙 WEEK OF ACTION ✊🏾 for Safe, Sustainable & Equitable Schools💙✊🏾

Mark your calendars!
PAT Week of Action, April 24th-28th

Dear educator,

Our union has been in contract negotiations for safe, sustainable and equitable schools since January. Our union put together a bargaining platform, based on surveys from educators, that lays out a path ensuring high quality and strong public schools now and for years to come. 

Despite our proposals and compelling testimony, PPS managers seem to believe that the status quo is working and should be maintained for years to come. It is time we take action to show PPS management that maintaining the status quo is not how we create great public schools. 

How much longer are we willing to wait for safe, sustainable and equitable schools?

Click here to sign up and commit to the actions YOU plan to take during this important week of action.


Educators Proposal

Management’s Proposal

Class sizes & caseloads

Hard caps and increases in planning and prep times

status quo

Competitive salaries & cost of living adjustments

Keep up with inflation & offsetting PERS cuts

2.5% per year

Just cause: protection against unjust discipline or firing of educators

Maintain our current protections

Remove Just Cause protections to make discipline and firing less transparent

Expanded mental health services

School psychologists, qualified mental health providers, nurses and counselors for ALL schools

No Response

Additional Special Education services

Smaller caseloads & more Tier 2 and 3 interventions

No Response

Safe and healthy schools

Buildings must be between 60℉ and 90℉, schools free of mice and mold, de-escalation spaces for students in crisis

No Response

Racial equity and restorative justice

Fully fund restorative justice programs, educator-led professional development, culturally relevant curricula, accurate collection of racial disparity data

No Response

Expanded early childhood learning & preschool

Safe staffing ratios, greater professional development, play-based curriculum

No Response

More teaching, less testing

No standardized tests before 3rd grade, no additional testing beyond state-mandated tests

Struck most of our proposed language

Housing assistance

New emergency services for PPS families facing eviction and families with housing needs

No Response

Real community connections


Expand parent-teacher home visit program and greater transparency around school budgeting

No Response

What patterns do you notice? One clear pattern is that PPS believes the status quo is what best serves our students and schools. It is time we reject this argument. Why? This flies in the face of what we experience each and every day in our schools. 

This is why we’re taking action during the week of April 24th-28th, to show PPS management that maintaining the status quo is not how we create great public schools. We do this by responding to the needs of our students and families and create the safe, sustainable and equitable schools our community deserves.

Click here to sign up and commit to the actions YOU plan to take during this important week of action.

More details coming soon from your head building representative or internal organizer. Make sure someone from your worksite attends our Wednesday, April 19th Representative Assembly to learn more. If you have questions, please write to our Internal Organizing Leads Erika Schneider ([email protected]) or Matt Reed ([email protected]).

Take care and enjoy your weekend!

In Solidarity,
Portland Association of Teachers

President’s Message: The Revolution will not be Televised


The winds of change are blowing. Can you feel it? 

Our union siblings in Woodburn, WEA, have lost 96 teachers since May 2021. They are also fighting for smaller class sizes and caseloads, in addition to increased pay and declared an impasse on March 15th, 2023.  Our union siblings in Silver Falls, SFEA, are fighting for class size caps and declared an impasse. Both WEA and SFEA have voted to authorize a strike

SFEA reached a tentative agreement (TA) Monday night gaining important wins around class sizes and overages. Woodburn reached a tentative agreement around 1am on Thursday morning ensuring almost 18% COLA over 3 years, and hard class size and caseload caps. The management team accepted their last and best offer after arguing earlier they could never agree to such caps.

The proof is in the pudding: Strikes work. In fact, they work so well that just a credible threat of a strike was enough to force the district to provide our educators and students what they deserve.

What our siblings fought for and won in Woodburn and Silver Falls is exactly the fight we are in here in Portland. We want safe, sustainable, and equitable schools. We are fighting for more staff, more interventions, more support so every student can access instruction. We are asking for more instruction and less testing that does not inform our instruction. We are asking for Mental Health Support teams at each site and an acknowledgement of the different but crucial role our counselors, social workers, school psychs, and QMHPs play in our schools. We are asking that schools prepare for the influx of students moving through our system with extra support and forward planning. And we have heard these same demands from sites across the district. We have heard it through the bargaining surveys, hundreds of one on one conversations and site visits by our OEA staff, your PAT Vice President, Jacque Dixon, and I. Thank you to all the reps who have helped coordinate those visits.

Solidarity Forever

As I stated in bargaining, educators are fed up. We are done working for free. We are done being morally injured. We are done holding up a broken system on our backs. That is why we are ramping up our Bargaining Campaign with an All Representative Meeting on May 3rd, 2023 at First United Methodist Church from 12:00pm-4:30pm. We have asked substitutes to make themselves available for that day in order to support the over 300 educators taking a PM half day to collaborate and learn more about our next steps. We are planning on a districtwide Community Art Build this fall and new information about how the kicker impacts our ability to fully fund schools in Oregon.

The winds of change are strong and inevitable. As Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr once said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” I know members are tired. I know you have done so much and have been beaten up by the system you are a part of again, and again, and again. But we will not stop until we have great public schools for each and every student, community and educator. Just hold on, keep your head up, and remember we have each other to lean on. Solidarity means we step up when we can, step back when we must, trusting our union siblings to lift us up and carry on the work.

Join the PAT Flying Squad to find out about events and rallies in support of educators across the state and unionists within Portland!

As always, thank you for waking up and coming to work every day. In case no one told you today, you're awesome and loved.

Take care,

Angela Bonilla
PAT President

Rep Elections

It is time to elect your site’s PAT Building Representatives for next school year!

Each site is entitled to one Representative for every nine members. Our building elections are how we ensure that Reps at each site are trusted, respected leaders. If you’re interested in running to be a Rep, let your current Head Rep know. 

Each site should create a ballot and hold an election at a 10-minute meeting before the May 17th RA. 

For more information and some resources, go to

Know Your Contract: Contract Exceptions - Due May 12!

PAT has a process for contract exceptions to allow professional educators at a worksite to apply for an exception to the terms and conditions of the Contract (Article 1.9).  

Contract exceptions are due Friday, May 12th, 2023 and must be approved by the PAT Advocacy Committee and the District, prior to implementation. 

A contract exception is valid only for the school year for which it was approved. 

The Contract Exception Form and FAQ’s can be found at "Know Your Contract" page.

Run for Interim Eboard Director or Interim Secretary by May 17!

Nominations are now open for two interim elected positions: PAT Executive Board Director and PAT Secretary! Nominations will close at 5:00 PM on May 17th (at the May RA).

Both interim positions are for one year terms (from July 1, 2023 - June 30, 2024).

Are you interested in taking a leadership role within your union and having an impact on its direction? If so, please consider running!

To nominate yourself for either of these positions, use this nomination form. Nomination forms must be emailed to Jennifer Dixon (Jennifer.Dixo[email protected]). Candidates who submit their forms by 5:00 pm on May 8, 2023, will have their statements distributed at the May RA. However, nominations can also be made from the floor at the May RA (by 5pm on May 17th).

Any PAT member in good standing may run for these positions. Non-members are not eligible to run for an elected union office. (But you can become a member HERE in order to run.) Learn more about Executive Board Director responsibilities and Secretary responsibilities.

In accordance with our bylaws, the Representative Assembly will elect the interim positions. Voting will occur at the May 17th RA. Only elected reps, who are present during the time of voting, will be permitted to vote. Candidate speeches will be given at the May RA.

For more information, you can refer to the Nomination Letter to All Members (from the PAT Nominations and Elections Committee), or to the PAT Nominations and Elections Handbook.

Internal Organizing-Week of Action


PAT Week of Action for Safe, Sustainable, and Equitable Schools!

What action will you take in order to win safe, sustainable, and equitable schools for students and families? 

During the week of April 24th-28th, educators across PPS will be taking action in our classrooms, at bargaining, and at the PPS Board meeting to show our unity and power. As our President, Angela Bonilla wrote after our April 4th contract negotiations session:

We cannot keep doing what we are doing because it is not working. We will continue to lose educators. I understand the educator shortage is a national trend, and we are not exempt. But educators going on strike is also a national trend… And why is that? It’s because we are done working for free. We are done being morally injured.”

Click HERE to sign up and commit to the actions YOU plan to take during this important week of action.

More details coming soon from your head building representative or internal organizer. If you have questions, please write to our Internal Organizing Leads Erika Schneider ([email protected]) or Matt Reed ([email protected]). 

External Organizing-Next Meeting

Let's keep putting pressure on PPS: Please sign and share this petition in support of our Bargaining Platform!  Text it to 5 people right now! Our current count is around 3,200…

Mark your calendar: Invite 2-3 other parents/organizers to the next External Organizing Meeting (Thursday, May 11, 4:30-6:30 p.m.) The goal is to have at least one person from each site represented. RSVP here.

Racial Equity & Social Justice Committees

The committee co-chairs would like to offer a few words of encouragement during this time when there is so much to be discouraged about: racism is thriving at every level everywhere, trans children’s rights are being attacked vigorously, book bans are picking up steam, and on top of all of that (and more) we are overworked, undervalued, mistrusted, understaffed, and unsupported in our profession. At the Trans Visibility Day march and rally, speaker after speaker gave impassioned calls to stay in community, stay in the fight, and to believe your own worth. They called for and exemplified defiant hope for their trans siblings during this frightening moment of history for trans youth and adults. 

Defiant hope. What does that mean in our PAT community? What does that look like in your building? When you are singled out for your race, gender, or sexuality? When you are micromanaged or left totally unsupported? When you have been laid off, let go, or not called back after the first round of interviews? When your school has been shut down with no warning? We think defiant hope looks like community, love, collaboration, co-conspiracy, brilliant minds seeing through the smoke and mirrors, dreaming, visioning, self-care, community care, simply showing up. We see you and we thank you for all you do to demand racial equity and social justice in our PPS community.  We remind you of what our PAT leadership has said so many times, that WE are PPS, our students are PPS, their families are PPS. Politicians, administrators, top level brass…they come and go, but WE are the heartbeat of today and tomorrow in our PAT and PPS community, and WE collectively are our reason for defiant hope. 

In gratitude- Nedra, Karen, Julie and David.

April 29th, Nihonmachi Clean-Up, Old Town Chinatown 

Saturday, April 29, 8am to noon

Meet up at the Japanese American Museum of Oregon (411 NW Flanders St) and help clean up Portland’s historical Japantown and Chinatown neighborhood. SOLVE will provide trash grabbers, trash bags, work gloves and high-vis vests. Registration and more information.


SJCO is seeking your input to reflect the needs of our members. We realize after a number of years of offering the same kind of planning opportunities and points of access to resources in support of your work with students, that maybe something different should be offered. Will you help us shape our future priorities? Thank you so much for taking a quick 4 minutes to fill out this SJCO survey. We appreciate you and your time!

April 30th, PPS Union Coalition Update: School Board Candidate Forum

SJCO meets monthly with our PPS partner union leadership to build relationships and learn how we can support mutual goals. We compare bargaining notes and action strategies. When we organize together, we win together! We are collaborating to host a PPS School Board Candidate Forum on April 30th, at 2:30 at the PAT office. Check with your building rep for more information!

PAT PAC--April 26th Membership Meeting

We hope you will join us for our annual PAT PAC Membership* Meeting on Wednesday, April 26, from 6:30-7:30 PM. This meeting will be over Zoom. Please USE THIS LINK TO REGISTER.

At this meeting you will:

  • Learn about our endorsed candidates for the May primary election, and ways that you can help support them
  • Meet the PAT PAC board, and hear from candidates running for election to the PAC board
  • Learn about proposed changes to the PAC Bylaws
  • Learn more about PAT PAC’s processes and how the board operates
  • Learn ways you can get involved.

Voting for the PAC Board and the bylaws changes will occur via ballots that will be emailed to all contributors after the meeting.

*This meeting is only for contributors to the PAT PAC. If you do not yet give to the PAC, you can sign up to give here and then join us at the meeting.

Looking forward to seeing you on April 26!

Substitute Committee-Ask Every Substitute to Join PAT

ASK Every Substitute Educator you see to join PAT

Donate to the Sick Leave Bank

Do you have unused sick leave hours? Please consider donating before the end of the school year to help support PAT members facing serious health issues for next year. Members may donate up to 40 hours of sick leave annually. 

Are you retiring or resigning this year? Employees who have already submitted their notice of resignation are exempted from this maximum limit, and may contribute as many hours as they would like. 

The PAT Sick Leave Bank (see PAT/PPS contract Article provides aid for colleagues who have exhausted their accumulated leave balances and are unable to work due to extended or recurring personal illness. With the help of the Sick Leave Bank, they are able to avoid the additional hardships of lost salary and lost insurance coverage during their illness. 

You can donate hours using this online form, or go to our website for additional information.

April 27th, An Evening with Nichole Watson

This promises to be a meaningful time of food, listening, and learning about where PAT has been with racial equity and where we are going. Nichole Watson is an Oregon native, PPS graduate and a former PPS educator. In 2018-2019, Nichole was on full-time release to focus on racial equity in PAT and PPS. She created a more than 200-page report which included personal essays from parents, educators, and union reps from PPS and throughout the state, which was not released by PAT at the time. Nichole is currently the principal of Prescott Elementary School in Parkrose. We will also have an opportunity to hear from our own PAT leaders, as we are currently in bargaining to improve racial equity in our district. Please RSVP by  Mon April 24th, so we can order enough food. 

Verselandia! April 27th

Thursday, April 27 at 7:00 p.m., Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall

Literary Arts cordially invites you to Verselandia! They’d love to see as many students and educators as possible there! Use this request form to order as many free tickets as you would like for your student group! 

All PAT Representative Summit, May 3rd

All reps should join us Wednesday, May 3rd from 12:30-4:30pm* for updates about PAT's Bargaining Progress, plan for our next actions, and collaboration time with your colleagues and Zone Liaisons.

Every rep at every building should plan to attend. Register today!