PPS Vaccine Mandate: Next Steps

PAT members overwhelmingly support a vaccine mandate for educators and PPS staff, and see it as one crucial step towards creating safe and stable schools in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Last Tuesday, PPS announced that all PPS employees are required to be vaccinated or submit to regular testing. The next day, Governor Brown announced a state-wide mandate that all school employees and healthcare workers be vaccinated by October 15. The rules from the state, when they are announced, will determine how this mandate will be implemented.

We recognize that this mandate may create questions for some PAT members, as well as members of our sister unions in PPS, which include PFSP, DCU, ATU, and SEIU 503. We are working together with all our PPS union siblings to coordinate negotiations with PPS over the impact of the vaccine mandate, and make sure agreements are in place to support workers getting vaccinated, as well as those who qualify for medical or religious exemptions. 

We do not yet have any information from PPS about how to show proof of vaccination, or how to claim a medical or religious exemption, but will share with you that information as soon as we have it. 

Finally, this week the FDA announced full approval for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for people ages 16 and up. This is an important step towards the possibility of adding the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of vaccines required for students. We are pushing state leaders to clarify the process for doing so as soon as possible.

Introducing Your PAT Leaders

PAT is a democratic union, and we have many elected leaders who share the responsibility for guiding our work as an association. We are fortunate to have such a talented and collaborative team of leaders. Learn more here.

PAT Officers

  • President: Elizabeth Thiel, English teacher, Madison High School
  • Vice President: Gwen Sullivan, Library Media Specialist, Chapman Elementary School
  • Interim Treasurer: Tina Lamanna, 2nd Grade, Markham Elementary School
  • Secretary: Alisha Chavez, Special Education Teacher, Atkinson Elementary School

Executive Board Directors-at-Large

  • Beyoung Yu, ELL, Rosa Parks K-5, Liaison to Zone 1
  • Vincent Chirimwami, Special Education teacher, Faubion K-8, Liaison to Zone 2
  • Greg Burrill, Substitute Teacher, Liaison to Zone 3
  • Jacque Dixon, Language Arts Teacher, DART, Liaison to Zone 4
  • Shannon Foxley, Counselor, Da Vinci MS Liaison to Zone 5
  • Angela Bonilla, Instructional Coach, Scott K-5, Liaison to Zone 6
  • Rachel Hanes, 2nd Grade teacher, Glencoe ES, Liaison to Zone 7
  • Tina Lamanna, 2nd Grade teacher, Markham K-5, Liaison to Zone 8
  • Mike Bauer, Social Studies teacher, Cleveland HS, Liaison to Zone 9

OEA Board Directors

  • Russ Peterson, Social Studies teacher, Grant High School
  • Gwen Sullivan, Library Media Specialist, Chapman ES
  • Matthew Oleson, Online Learning Academy

JOIN A PAT COMMITTEE!

PAT is known around the state and country for being a strong and powerful union.  Part of what makes this possible is the strength of our committees within the union.  Our committees give members a way to be involved based on their own interests.  Most of our committees are open to all members. Interested in joining one of our committees, please let us know here!   Your voice will make a difference. 

The Advocacy Committee defends your rights in contract administration meetings and grievances, addresses district-wide issues such as safety and workload, and informs the bargaining team and helps shape many of our bargaining priorities. 

The Bargaining Committee supports our PAT Bargaining team with research, ideas, and the perspectives of educators in a large cross-section of our our schools, roles, and experiences. 

*Social Justice and Community Outreach Committee members strengthen ties with other labor and community organizations and conduct open forums on topics like Special Education, Immigration Rights and Climate Justice.

*The Racial Equity Committee is an affinity space for educators of color whose goal is to build organizational capacity within PAT to honor, acknowledge and center the lived experiences and stories of educators, along with students of color, within our union and inside PPS. 

*The Substitute Teacher Committee discusses best practice for substitute teachers and supports the bargaining team. Their work, along with our collective efforts, helped PAT win the strongest Substitute Teacher contract in Oregon.

*The Membership Committee offers workshops to help PAT members with issues such as student loan forgiveness, retirement planning, and interview skills for the transfer process. It also plans member activities such as the annual PAT “Party in the Park” and Retiree Reception.

*The Instructional and Professional Development Committee meets with PPS leadership monthly to advocate for better district-wide programs for all PAT members. This committee works on teaching and learning problems and solutions.

*The Legislative Committee works to support local legislation, elected leaders, and candidates for elected office who share our values, so that educators can influence our government to recognize the needs of our students and our profession.

The Nominations and Elections Committee ensures that each PAT member has a fair and easy process when we’re electing PAT leaders or ratifying collective bargaining agreements. 

Committees with an * are open to all members to attend. Meet the committee chairs and learn more on our website.

OEA Training Opportunities for New Educators

OEA is launching an exciting new series that will be covering a myriad of topics for new Educators all year. Please see their website for more details and to register. Please see the OEA Calendar for all the other upcoming events and training opportunities available through OEA.

PAT 2021 Presentation for New Educators

We hope to see you on October 8th at Faubion Middle School for PPS' New Educator Orientation. In case you can not make it, we have a printable copy of our presentation available.

Highlights:

Join PAT!

Contact Us

Know Your Contract

Join One of Our Committees

PAT Supports Vaccine Mandate for Educators

Dear Educator,

Today PPS made the announcement that PPS employees will be required to be vaccinated against Covid-19, or to submit to regular testing. PAT supports this important step towards keeping our school communities safe in this ongoing pandemic and ensuring our students experience as little disruption this fall as we are able to manage. 

Vaccination is our most powerful tool to get our students back to in-person learning, and to restore the interaction and personal connection that is such a crucial part of learning. 

In our recent survey of PAT members, almost 98% of members reported that they are already vaccinated, and the majority of the remaining members reported that they have a medical or religious reason for exemption. So while PAT members have overwhelmingly already met this mandate, it is an important first step towards ensuring that everyone in our school communities are vaccinated, if they are able to be.

Under state law, employers have the right to mandate vaccines for their employees, and unions have a right to bargain the impact. PAT fully supports the right of all our union siblings to bargain the impact of this mandate, including making sure there are alternatives for those with a legitimate reason to not be vaccinated. 

Our survey also shows that PAT members overwhelmingly support vaccine mandates for both PPS employees and students.

Vaccine mandates are effective because, in addition to protecting the individuals who are vaccinated and reducing spread of disease, they create an environment of “herd immunity” which is necessary to protect our most vulnerable community members who are not able to get vaccinated.

Of course, the vast majority of our school population is students, so to reach “herd immunity” we need our students to be vaccinated as well (more on that below). 

In addition to vaccination, we will continue to fight to maintain all the crucial safety measures that we won in our Spring MOU.

As we continue to navigate this pandemic, there are no simple or straightforward solutions. We will continue to work together to find the best path to meet the needs of our members, our students, and our communities. We are so grateful for your continued dedication to our students and support for your colleagues as we will manage another difficult year together. 

In Solidarity,

Elizabeth Thiel, President, Portland Association of Teachers

What does it take to get a vaccine mandated for students?

This is a question we have been working hard to get a clear answer to. Our best understanding is this:

  1. First, the vaccine needs to gain full approval by the FDA (currently it has emergency authorization). This is expected to happen in the next month.
  2. After that, the Oregon Health Authority has a process to review vaccines to consider adding them to the list of required vaccines, through the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, Department of Health and Human Services, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They use this criteria to make decisions.
  3. Once a vaccine is recommended by the ACIP, the state Legislature, the Governor, or a local school district make a vaccine mandatory. 

August 25th, 4-5PM, OEA Welcome Back Webinar: Re-imaging Relationships: Returning and Engaging in our Schools

OEA is proud to announce a new webinar series to welcome back educators with new and relevant topics. This series will be held virtually on the last Wednesday of the month from 4:00-5:00 PM.

Student engagement remains a top priority for educators as we welcome students back into the traditional classroom. Educators will use this session to develop or improve on SEL and safe space practices. With an emphasis on communication and practices building empathy, participants will work to improve their EQ within themselves and within their instructional practice. Building relationships and making connections is critical in these unprecedented times, and by doing so we can increase student engagement in rigorous curricular lessons. This webinar leverages breakout rooms and digital collaboration for an interactive experience.

Click here to register!

Did you miss a webinar? No problem. Access the OEA Grow EdCommunity Archive and earn 1 PDU credit for each webinar watched. This archive is password protected and only available to members. If you have trouble creating a login, please e-mail [email protected]

See the link for the full catalog of Fall 2021 OEA Professional Learning Opportunities

Continue reading

Update on Covid Safety Agreements for Fall

Dear Educator,

We have been looking forward all summer to serving our students safely in-person this fall. Since the school year ended in June, the landscape around Covid-19 has shifted dramatically, and the downward slope of case-counts that we saw in June and early July, has reversed.

The Delta variant continues to challenge our understanding of the virus. What we know for sure is that every safety measure we can put in place this fall, will help prevent disruptions all year, from quarantine, sickness, and prolonged absences.

Your PAT staff and officers have been working hard to assess the evolving situation, including Covid metrics, the updated guidances from the Oregon Department of Education and the Center for Disease Control, and recommendations from the American Association of Pediatrics

The CDC, the AAP and the ODE have all recommended layered safety measures. In addition to vaccinating everyone who is eligible, these recommendations include:

  •     Wearing a mask indoors
  •     Frequent hand washing
  •     Ensuring physical distancing between students.
  •     Adequate ventilation in every classroom.
  •     A program for regular testing and COVID screening.

Many of these provisions overlap with our Safety MOU from the spring. That MOU had an “anticipated duration” of the 2020-21 school year, but things have not gone as anticipated, and COVID remains a significant threat to public health.

Today we notified PPS that if we do not update our standing agreement, our Spring 2021 Safety MOU will remain in effect, as our working conditions are still significantly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.   

Our objective is to have clear safety agreements in place before students begin the school year. We are hopeful that building off the work that went into our spring MOU, and the guidance from the CDC and ODE, this can be done very quickly. The district has already indicated verbally their intention to implement all the recommendations of the ODE. 

We are creating a survey to assess your priorities in updating the agreement; we expect to get it to you by late next week. 

In the meantime, we hope you are able to take time to relax for the last weeks of a much-deserved summer break.

In Solidarity,

Elizabeth Thiel, President

Portland Association of Teachers

COVID-19 Safety Updates, August 6, 2021

Dear Educator,

We have been looking forward all summer to serving our students safely in-person this fall. Since the school year ended in June, the landscape around COVID-19 has shifted dramatically, and the downward slope of case-counts that we saw in June and early July, has reversed.

The Delta variant continues to challenge our understanding of the virus. What we know for sure is that every safety measure we can put in place this fall, will help prevent disruptions all year, from quarantine, sickness, and prolonged absences.

Your PAT staff and officers have been working hard to assess the evolving situation, including COVID metrics, the updated guidances from the Oregon Department of Education and the Center for Disease Control, and recommendations from the American Association of Pediatrics

The CDC, the AAP and the ODE have all recommended layered safety measures. In addition to vaccinating everyone who is eligible, these recommendations include:

  •     Wearing a mask indoors
  •     Frequent hand washing
  •     Ensuring physical distancing between students.
  •     Adequate ventilation in every classroom.
  •     A program for regular testing and COVID screening.

Many of these provisions overlap with our Safety MOU from the spring. That MOU had an “anticipated duration” of the 2020-21 school year, but things have not gone as anticipated, and COVID remains a significant threat to public health.

Today we notified PPS that if we do not update our standing agreement, our Spring 2021 Safety MOU will remain in effect, as our working conditions are still significantly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.   

Our objective is to have clear safety agreements in place before students begin the school year. We are hopeful that building off the work that went into our spring MOU, and the guidance from the CDC and ODE, this can be done very quickly. The district has already indicated verbally their intention to implement all the recommendations of the ODE. 

We are creating a survey to assess your priorities in updating the agreement; we expect to get it to you by late next week. 

In the meantime, we hope you are able to take time to relax for the last weeks of a much-deserved summer break.

In Solidarity,

Elizabeth Thiel, President

Portland Association of Teachers
http://www.pdxteachers.org/

Tentative CBA Reached for Substitute Educators

Attention PAT Educators:

Great News!  The PAT Substitute Bargaining Team (Mark Oshin, Steven Alexander, and Greg Burrill) reached a tentative agreement with PPS for a successor agreement for Substitute educators.  You can view the videos of the bargaining sessions here.

A few highlights from our new Substitute agreement:

Duration:

The new Substitute CBA covers July 1, 2020 - June 30, 2024

Health Insurance:

PAT ensured no roll-backs on Substitute health insurance, and just as important, achieved very favorable terms for Substitute Insurance Eligibility following this COVID-19 impacted year.  Next year, any Substitute who did not have PPS Substitute insurance need only to have worked 60 days in 2020-2021 to be eligible for insurance next year. (Because of our pandemic-year MOU, Substitutes qualified for 2020-2021 insurance with 52 instead of the usual 70 days worked.) Any Substitute who already had insurance in 2020-2021 needs only to have worked 25 days in 2020-2021 in order to continue insurance next year.

This hard-won agreement means that individuals have their insurance protected in spite of how difficult it was to get work last year. 

PAT successfully negotiated new language related to dental insurance so that Substitute educator monthly costs will be protected from huge increases. 

Daily and Extended Rates of Pay:

The PAT team ensured that there are no changes to language that governs the rate of Substitute pay.  Because of that, the daily rate of Substitute pay will increase to $224.05 a day (up from $202.09).  The Substitute Extended rate (more than ten day) increases to $250.50 (up from $231.07).  The daily and Extended rates will increase each year in proportion to the regularly-employed teacher's negotiated cost-of-living pay increases each year.

Assignments:

The PAT team was able to win language that PAT Substitutes fought many years to achieve.  Administrators can no longer direct a Substitute to switch their assignment.

In addition, we also fended off an unjustified attempt to lengthen the Substitute educator school day from 7½ to 7¾ hours.

Materials:

Buildings now have a process to determine how many keys must be on-hand for Substitute use.  In addition, Substitutes will be provided with paper copies of class lists that they do not need to turn in, improving safety for students during fire drills and recess, etc.

Incentive Schools:

A great deal of time was spent negotiating ways to increase fill-rates in all buildings in PPS.  It has become clear that some buildings have continually had absence fill-rates in the 75% – 80% range.  That means that about 25% of all absences posted in those buildings go unfilled.  PAT and PPS have decided to call these buildings “Incentive Schools.”  Our colleagues in the regularly-employed PAT unit, and large numbers of PPS students of color, are harmed by these low fill-rates. 

PAT agreed with PPS to work to find ways to improve those fill rates through a combination of paid PD opportunities, increases in pay for work in Incentive Schools, and access to enhanced interview status for Substitutes who work consistently in Incentive Schools.  In addition, PAT and PPS have agreed to form a committee to work on additional ways to address the low fill-rates.  

Inclusiveness:

In addition to the substantive work of the Incentive Schools initiatives, we agreed with the District to make the final Tentative Agreement more inclusive by de-gendering pronouns.

PAT will soon have materials prepared for a ratification package to review for an on-line ratification vote.  The ratification package will show all changes from the current contract. 

Be on the lookout for those emails in the next week or so.  Keep in mind, you MUST BE A SUBSTITUTE AND A PAT MEMBER TO VOTE on the contract. 

If you are not a Substitute member, we want to hear your voice, so please consider using this application to join your colleagues in the PAT.  Remember, that Substitute educators only pay dues in months that they work.  Don’t let your colleagues do all the work of supporting the PAT and OEA! 

If you are becoming a new member, please also contact Kelly McKenna at [email protected] who will expedite your application for you to participate in the ratification vote.

It is through our collective voice that we are powerful, and it is with that power that we are able to make such significant gains in bargaining. 

Yours in Solidarity –

Your PAT Substitute Bargaining Team

Mark Oshin, Chair

Greg Burrill

Steven Alexander

 

Portland Association of Teachers
http://www.pdxteachers.org/

August 12th and 19th, PD Opportunities: Equity 101 for Educators

PAT is sponsoring the following professional development opportunity for PAT members. This is a two-part PD, on August 12th and August 19th, over Zoom. Read more and sign up below!

Join us for our two-day online Racial Equity Professional Development for Educators, facilitated by Kheoshi Owens and Empress Rules Equity Consulting. We will dive deep in the work together, focusing on foundational equity concepts such as: Implicit Bias, Diversity and Equity Vocabulary & Spectrum, What is Whiteness? and How to identify and interrupt racist, sexist, xenophobic, and ablest comments and behaviors.

Space is limited and this professional development is reserved only for members of the Portland Association of Teachers. If you are interested, please register now, as each cohort has space for only 30 members and registration is first come, first served. We ask that if you register, you commit to joining both dates, August 12th and 19th, as the second session will build on concepts covered in the first session.

Let's kick this school year off together in community, centering our students of color. The work begins with you. We can make our schools better and more inclusive for BIPOC students together! See you there!

July 29, 2021: Retro Checks Expected with the August Paycheck

Dear Educator,

In June, PAT members voted overwhelmingly to ratify a two-year successor to our Collective Bargaining Agreement. On June 29th, the PPS School Board voted unanimously to ratify it, as well.

Part of the agreement was a 3% Cost-of-Living Allowance for 2020-21, with retroactive pay to July 1st, 2020. While PPS had hoped to get retro-checks out with the July paycheck, they now plan send retro-payments as a separate check the end of August.  

All PAT educators will also receive a 3% COLA for the 2021-22 school year. You will see this increase reflected starting with your September paycheck. 

In addition to keeping up with rising cost of living, we also won important new provisions which aim to better attract, retain, and support educators of color. These provisions were developed and prioritized by PAT members of color, and include: a new stipend for bilingual and DLI educators; extended responsibility pay for educators who lead student affinity groups; the creation of a program of peer support for new educators of color; and new professional development for all members on anti-racism, implicit bias, and culturally responsive practices.

You can see the new CBA, including these new provisions and our new salary schedules, on our website.

Portland Association of Teachers
http://www.pdxteachers.org/

Bargaining Brief- June 21, 2021: PAT Members Ratify Tentative Agreement

Dear Educator,

At noon today, PAT members completed the process of voting on whether to ratify the Tentative Agreement with PPS on a two-year successor to our Collective Bargaining Agreement. The results were confirmed this afternoon by our Nominations and Elections Committee.  PAT members voted overwhelmingly to ratify the agreement.

In addition to keeping up with rising cost of living, this tentative agreement represents a strong step forward as we work with the District toward our shared goal of recruiting new educators of color, and retaining and better supporting educators of color who are already in the district.  

The highlights of the Tentative Agreement include:

  • 3% COLA for 2020-21 with retroactive pay to July 1st, 2020 for all employed during the term of the agreement, including those that retired in the 2020-2021 school year
  • 3% COLA for 2021-22 effective July 1, 2021
  • All employees in the BA+0 column of the pay scale will be moved to the corresponding step in the BA+15 and the BA+0 column will be eliminated making Step One of BA+15 the new base salary.
  • A package of improvements to attract, support, and retain educators of color: 
    • $1500 annual stipend for Bilingual Educators, as defined in our CBA appendix I
    • $3,000 annual stipend for DLI Educators
    • Pay for educators who lead affinity groups
    • The creation of a program of Peer Support for new educators of color
    • Professional development for all members on anti-racism, implicit bias, and culturally responsive practices.

We also agreed to a separate process to take place early next year, to talk about Article 9 in our contract (Safety) and the Student’s Rights and Responsibilities Handbook.  The goal of the discussions will be to identify and change language that may disproportionately impact traditionally underserved students.  

Next week, on Tuesday, June 29th, the PPS School Board will vote on whether to ratify the agreement in a meeting starting at 6:00 pm. PAT President, Elizabeth Thiel, will address the board prior to their vote. You can watch next week’s PPS Board Meeting here. 

You can see the complete Tentative Agreement on our website.

In Solidarity,

Elizabeth Thiel
President, Portland Association of Teachers

Culturally Responsive Wellness Supports for BIPOC Staff

Good Afternoon Comrades, 

I hope that you are well and ready to begin this much needed summer break! Thank you for all of your hard work and service to our students. I understand from personal experience and countless stories that BIPOC colleagues district-wide have shared with me how challenging it can be to find a BIPOC therapist in Portland. These look like some pretty awesome offerings from PPS for BIPOC high-school staff that we want to pass on. I hope that you are able to relax and recharge this summer and take advantage of these benefits if you think they may be helpful. Take care and please feel free to forward this message to any colleagues you think may benefit from these offerings. 

Keep raising hope,

Jacque Dixon & Nedra Miller

PAT Racial Equity Committee Chairs

Culturally Responsive Wellness Supports for BIPOC HS Staff

Note: These supports are available to high school staff only in accordance with the spending guidelines of Measure 98.

Dear Staff,

High School Success/ Measure 98 recognizes that a commitment to racial equity and social justice is also a commitment to supporting the mental health and well being of our staff of Color.  We also recognize that historical and ongoing trauma disproportionately impacts people of Color in our district and our society as a whole. Additionally, there are many barriers to accessing high quality mental health care for those who choose to seek it, including prohibitive cost and the availability of culturally responsive providers.

In partnership with our Student Success and Health colleagues, we are organizing to offer the following free supports over the summer:

  • Up to 10 free sessions with a BIPOC therapist from Raising An Alternative Perspective. Slots are limited and will be available on a first come first served basis. We will do our best to serve as many interested staff as possible.
  • Attend a facilitated wellness space for Black and/or non Black people of Color. The trained facilitators are people of Color.

We recognize that these offerings are limited and will not meet everyone’s needs, but believe that they may be helpful for some and would love to get feedback on what other supports the district could provide.

If you are interested in the above services and/or have feedback please complete this interest form

Participation will be confidential. Only a few staff supporting coordination of services will know of your participation. These services, which are being coordinated by staff of Color, are being offered in recognition of the exhaustion, burnout, and harm that educators of Color encounter both in and out of the workplace. We are hopeful that this benefit can make a positive difference for all who are able to use it.     


Best,

Ari

--

Ari Yoo Kilsang Alberg

Director, High School Success

Office of Teaching & Learning

Portland Public Schools

Cell: 503.568.2640

June 24th, Meet and Greet with Incoming OEA President and Vice President

You are invited to a Zoom meet and greet with OEA president-elect Reed Scott-Schwalbach and OEA vice president-elect Enrique Farrera.

Join members from the Portland and Mt Hood UniServ areas to meet with Reed and Enrique between 5:00 - 6:00 PM for conversation, raffle prizes, and more.  Can’t make it?  See the OEA website “Events” for other dates.

When: Thursday June 24, 2021 5:00 – 6:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Please register in advance:

https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJAtceGqqTopGdQgQfxfVge0HuaMNbrbmJWm

Join PMAE-Retired Today

Congratulations on your retirement! With the annual PAT Retirement Reception canceled again due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will miss seeing you. Nonetheless, we hope you will join Portland Metro Area Educators-Retired to maintain your connection with your union and other colleagues for an Active Voice. Active Life.

PMAE-Retired maintains an active social presence with hoped-for, once-a-month activities to resume in the Portland metro area, such as visiting museums, manufacturing businesses, outdoor reserves, and other places of interest. We also hold a breakfast every other month—online this past year—at various restaurants around the metro area. We hold membership meetings (again online this past year) every two months with business items, with updates on legislative and political activities and speakers on various topics of interest to retirees. You will receive our electronic newsletter, OurTimes, five times a year. Furthermore, your unified membership will keep your OEA and NEA benefits coming.

To join us, please complete our Membership form and return. Please also visit OEA-Retired's website to join OEA-Retired and NEA-Retired. There are three membership options to consider, with dues of only $10 to PMAE-Retired for each category:

• Lifetime—if you have paid for Lifetime with both OEA-Retired and NEA-Retired.
• Annual—$25 for OEA-Retired and $35 for NEA-Retired, combined.
• Substitute—as you will continue as an OEA and NEA member.

As an added enticement, PAT has agreed again to pay the $10 fee for one year, if you join now.

By mailing in your completed Membership form by July 30, your name also will be entered into a drawing for a $40 gift card.

We hope to hear from you soon!

Marleen Wallingford
PMAE-Retired President 

Ray Johnson
PMAE-Retired Vice President and Membership chair

Continue reading

Bargaining Brief 6.13.21: Teams Reach Tentative Agreement

Dear PAT Colleagues:

Your PAT Bargaining Team is pleased to inform you that late Saturday evening, we achieved a Tentative Agreement with the District team for a two-year successor agreement to our 2019-2020 Collective Bargaining Agreement. We will be bringing this TA to you this week for ratification so that it can go into effect in time for next year. 

Both teams had agreed to bring a limited number of issues to the table in the hopes that by limiting the scope of the bargain we would be able to arrive at an agreement before the summer break.  While we brought a handful of proposals to the table, the issues of greatest importance to the PAT for this limited bargain were obtaining contractual supports that would help to recruit, support and retain educators of color in PPS, and to secure a fair cost of living adjustment for all members.  

The District welcomed a discussion of our shared interest in supports for educators of color, and also brought a set of additional issues. The most complex and controversial of these was a school reform initiative that would have sweeping implications for our contract and the teaching conditions in affected schools.  PAT and the District share the goal of adding resources to schools with high needs, and therefore we put forth PAT’s vision for doing so based on the elements outlined in The Schools Portland Students Deserve and the State of Oregon “Quality Education Model.”  In the end, creating a new school reform/support model proved too complex for a limited scope of bargaining and PPS entirely withdrew their proposal.  PAT likewise withdrew several items which ultimately allowed both parties to partner in finding new ways to better support educators of color. 

The highlights of what was agreed to include:

  • 3% COLA for 2020-21 with retroactive pay to July 1st, 2020 for all employed during the term of the agreement, including retirees
  • 3% COLA for 2021-22 effective July 1, 2021
  • All employees in the BA+0 column of the pay scale will be moved to the corresponding step in the BA+15 and the BA+0 column will be eliminated making Step One of BA+15 the new base salary.
  • A package of improvements to attract, support, and retain educators of color: 
    • Stipend for Bilingual Educators, as defined in our CBA appendix I
    • Stipend for DLI Educators
    • Pay for educators who lead affinity groups
    • The creation of a program of Peer Support for new educators of color
    • Professional development for all members on anti-racism, implicit bias, and culturally responsive practices.
  • We also agreed to a separate process to take place early next year, to talk about Article 9 in our contract (Safety) and the Student’s Rights and Responsibilities Handbook.  The goal of the discussions will be to identify and change language that may disproportionately impact traditionally underserved students.  

There were a number of issues that we were unable to come to agreement on including changes to the Workload Overage language, eliminating the sunset on our Early Retirement Incentive, and creating a “Grow Your Own” program to support PPS students of color to become PPS professional educators. For now, our current contract language on Overages and ERI stands, and we will bring all these issues (and others) back to the table for a full bargain next year.

The PAT is encouraged by the good faith effort of the PPS team in achieving resolution on our mutual goals and we are hopeful that the productive working relationship established during this year’s negotiations will continue to develop as we return to the table this fall.

Next Steps

Given the extremely short time remaining in the school year, your Bargaining Team will be working through the rest of the weekend to complete the formal contract language and prepare materials for the membership to review in order to vote for ratification by Tuesday, the last contract day of the school year. 

We will present the Tentative Agreement to the PAT Executive Board on Monday and ask for the board’s recommendation. 

On Tuesday, June 15th at 2:00 pm, we will hold an all-member meeting to present the Tentative Agreement and answer questions. Please look for a link on Monday to register 

The ratification vote will open on Tuesday the 15th, and will stay open until Monday the 21st.  

We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday, and then signing off for the summer.

Special thanks to Angela Bonilla and Nadia Coronado for adding their important voice and deep professional experience to our bargaining sessions.


In Solidarity, 

Your PAT Bargaining Team-

Steve Lancaster, Chair

Emy Markewitz

Francisca Alvarez

Charity Powell

Andre Hawkins

Thea Keith

 

 

Continue reading

Bargaining Brief June 12, 2021

Dear PAT Colleagues:

This weekend, your Bargaining team is prepared to spend all day Saturday and into Sunday to negotiate a tentative agreement on this mini-bargain. You can watch all our sessions this weekend, as well as past sessions, here.

Thanks to all of you who took our survey last week on Accelerated Schools and the Schools Portland Students Deserve. Here are the results. Educators are strongly united in our belief that to improve outcomes for our historically underserved students, we must start by fully resourcing schools with small class sizes, wrap-around services, and well-rounded offerings including the arts, library, physical education, and recess. 

We presented the survey results to the district on Wednesday, along with our PAT counter-proposal.   The survey absolutely supports the PAT’s desire to put into place the beliefs expressed in the “Schools Portland Students Deserve.” Our counter-proposal replaces the District’s misguided “Acceleration” ideas as originally proposed, with the supports and practices outlined in our shared PAT vision.

On Friday, the district presented another PPS counter-proposal on Acceleration Schools, which made significant movement toward the values you expressed in our survey, including dropping the proposal to unassign educators for any reason and numerous other objectionable provisions.  Nonetheless, there remain several areas that are highly problematic which must be addressed to achieve a program design that we believe PAT members can support.

The District also presented on Friday PPS counter-proposals on Attracting, Supporting, and Retaining Educators of Color.

We have made significant progress on some of the issues we brought to the table, including peer support for educators of color, racial equity professional development for all educators, official monetary support for the facilitators of affinity groups, and a financial acknowledgement of the unique workload demands for educators in Dual Language Instruction programs.

Other issues still on the table include stabilization of schools with high turnover, acknowledgement of the work of bi-lingual educators, a few additions or adjustments to the workload overage chart, and a reasonable Cost-of-Living Adjustment to our salary schedule which would be retro-active to the 2019-2020 school year.

We will send you another update after the weekend. If we do not come to an agreement, we will regroup and prepare to enter into a major negotiation in the fall. 

If the PAT does come to a tentative agreement with the district this weekend, we will not be voting to ratify the agreement until we return in August. First, the PAT Executive Board must meet, fully review the agreement, and vote to recommend for ratification. After that, the entire PAT membership must be able to thoroughly review the details of the agreement. We can’t accomplish that before we all return in August because we know that many PAT members are away over the summer break.

Finally, we will NOT leave you wondering what has happened. If we do reach a tentative agreement, the PAT bargaining team will provide the full TA and a detailed outline to prepare for a vote in August. If we cannot reach a tentative agreement, we will send out a communication to explain where and why the District failed to meet your demands.  

In Solidarity, 

Your PAT Bargaining Team-

Steve Lancaster, Chair

Emy Markewitz

Francisca Alvarez

Charity Powell

Andre Hawkins

Thea Keith

President's Message: Putting PAT on Stronger Footing

This year, more than ever, it feels like a huge accomplishment to reach the final week of the school year. We have been through more this year than we can account for, including: 

  • Re-creating our practice to shift to online instruction.
  • Shifting our union activities and supports to the virtual realm.
  • Navigating constantly changing recommendations and requirements from the CDC and the state.
  • Fighting for contract language to protect the health of educators, students, and the community, and to establish reasonable working conditions. 
  • Recreating our practice again to shift to hybrid.
  • Constantly serving as advocates for our colleagues, and our students and families, through the unprecedented challenges of this year. 

These challenges have continued to evolve, and there have been no easy answers. But throughout this year, our union continues to grow stronger

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PAT Retiree Appreciation Virtual Event: June 16th

UPDATE: This event is on a new date -- Wednesday, June 16, 4:30-6:30 PM.

Please join us in celebrating all of the wonderful educators who have retired this school year. We recognize that this was an especially challenging year for educators, students, and families, and one that none of us would have chosen as the final year of our careers. PAT is overjoyed to take some time to reflect and celebrate the careers of all of our retired educators. 

Please join us to honor our retiring PAT members at the Virtual Celebration. RSVP here.  

Donate to PAT Sick Leave Bank!

Do you have unused sick-leave hours? Please consider donating up to 40 hours to support PAT members facing serious health issues. Members who are retiring can contribute unlimited hours. 

This year, it is easier than ever to donate hours: you can donate hours by filling out this online form! You will need to log in with your PPS email account and include your PPS employee ID number on the form.

The PAT Sick Leave Bank (see PAT/PPS contract Article 17.2.1.2) provides aid for colleagues who have exhausted their accumulated leave balances but 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. 

The Sick Leave Bank is funded completely by voluntary contributions of sick leave days from PAT educators. Thank you for considering making a donation today!

June 12 Day of Action: Teach the Truth

Please join the PAT Instruction and Professional Development Committee on June 12 in a Day of Action to Pledge to Teach the Truth about US history. 

Among the charges of your Instruction and Professional Development Committee (IPD) are to center racial equity and social justice in all aspects of teaching and learning and to report to you on local, state, and national issues when appropriate. We want to make sure you know about attempts in 15 US states to pass legislation denying teachers the right to be honest about the role of racism, sexism, heterosexism, and oppression throughout U.S. history

While there are currently no such laws being proposed in Oregon, there are colleagues in our state who have been threatened, both professionally and personally, when they have taken a stand to promote anti-racist curriculum.

To raise public awareness about the danger of these bills, the Zinn Education Project and Black Lives Matter in Schools, in conjunction with Rethinking Schools and Teaching for Change, invite educators nationwide to a Day of Action on June 12th, to join in locally-organized public gatherings.  Also, please sign the pledge to teach the truth

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