Know Your Contract: Moving Classrooms After the Start of the Year

This fall, some educators may have been asked to switch rooms in order to accommodate physical distancing for students. If you have been asked to move classrooms, Article 19 Contract language applies:

19.3.3 Administrator-directed moves that occur after the school year has started, or if the professional educator is directed to move classrooms two school years in a row, shall be compensated by the District for each hour worked: 

a. Up to four (4) hours to pack and move personally-owned materials; and 

b. Up to an additional four (4) hours to move and unpack materials in the new classroom.

Know Your Contract: Upcoming Deadlines

The PAT Advocacy Committee would like to highlight several important dates that are quickly approaching:

  • October 31-   Proof of Coursework-  Art. 12.2.1.3- “In order to receive a salary adjustment retroactive to the beginning of the current school year, a professional educator must, by October 31st, provide the Human Resources Department with proof of completion of coursework.”
  • 60 days from start of employment-   Proof of Experience Credit-  Art. 12.2.2.7-  “Such salary adjustments [based on previous experience] will not be retroactive, except that experience verified within sixty (60) days of the start of employment shall be retroactive to the first day of employment.”
  • 2nd Monday in October (October 11)-   Study Leave – Spring Semester-   Art. 17.4.6.2.d-  “Such applications for study leave for spring semester must be filed by the second Monday in October preceding the spring semester.”

You find the complete contract on our website.

COVID-19 Safety Committees

Similar to last year, each and every school or site should have a Safety Committee that includes 1 or 2 PAT members, selected by the PAT-represented staff at your site. The PAT bargaining team made sure that the language on Safety Committees was updated and renewed in the Tentative COVID-19 Safety Agreement that members will be voting on this week. If your staff has not already done so, please select 2 PAT members to serve on this important committee. 

These committees are standing bodies of the building, but are specifically focused on identifying and resolving any problems pertaining to COVID-19 safety protocols and process, as enshrined in the PAT-PPS COVID-19 Safety LOA and all of the policies/standard operating procedures that the District has developed to keep students and staff safe. 

Each Safety Committee should be touring the building to inspect each space where instruction and support with students will be provided. If you are on the Safety Committee, please make sure your colleagues know that you are serving in this role and work with PAT Building Reps if you need support in getting your administrator to resolve any safety problems or violations of the COVID-19 Safety LOA pertaining to safety. 

And for all other educators, make sure you know who is on your building’s Safety Committee so that you can go to them if you have any issues or problems pertaining to safety, at least to identify the issue so they can work on getting it resolved. 

Safety Committees should have completed a walkthrough of your site by September 7, 2021, using this document to guide their inspection. (Please make a copy of the document for your own use.) Please make sure to review and use this document on your walkthrough and as an overall guide. 

Lastly, you can find helpful resources for the Safety Committee here on the PAT’s website. Please also review PPS’s Q & A document on Health and Safety

COVID-19 Screening Testing for Oregon Educators

Oregon Health Authority offers free COVID-19 testing for K-12 staff in order to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in schools. This project offers free weekly screening testing by mail to any public or private K-12 staff. 

Sign up here for this OHA program.

The OHA site says that screening is not recommended for vaccinated K-12 staff because the risk of COVID-19 in vaccinated individuals is very low. However, the sign up form does not ask for your vaccination status. 

Participation is voluntary, and K-12 staff can opt-out at any time. All testing will be mailed directly to the homes of K-12 staff and will be confidential. The COVID-19 test will be performed at home by gently swabbing just inside the nose. The swab is then returned to the laboratory by mail and results are returned to participants within days.

To participate in this staff screening project, please complete the enrollment form above. Following enrollment, you will be sent an email by an OHA laboratory partner to complete the registration process.

This testing will be offered through the end of the 2021-2022 academic year or until funding is exhausted.

Learn more here.

Upcoming Events

Rep Assembly and Committee Meetings

  • September 8th, 4:30-5:30 PM, Rep Assembly
  • September 8th, 5:30 PM-7:00PM All Member Meeting

  • September 15th, 4:30-6:30 PM: Bargaining Committee
  • September 15th, 4:30-6:30 PM: Instructional and Professional Development Committee

  • September 22nd, 4:30-6:30 PM: Legislative Committee
  • September 22nd, 4:30-6:30 PM: Membership Committee
  • September 22nd, 4:30-6:30 PM: Racial Equity Committee

  • September 29th, 4:30-6:30 PM: Advocacy Committee
  • September 29th, 4:30-6:30 PM: Social Justice/Community Outreach Committee
  • September 29th, 4:30-6:30 PM: Substitute Committee

All PAT committee meetings will be held virtually on Zoom for the time being. Please register here to get a meeting link.

For all upcoming events, please see the PAT calendar and OEA calendar.

http://www.pdxteachers.org/

September 29th 4-5PM, OEA Welcome Back Webinar: Connection Before Curriculum: Teaching in a Post Pandemic World

OEA Welcome Back Webinar Series Continues:

 

Wednesday, September 29th, 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! 

 

Please visit OEA's website for more information.

 

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 OEA 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

Tentative Agreement Reached on Safety

Dear Educator,

On the eve of the first day of school for our students, we are writing to give you the latest update on our safety agreements for this fall. First, I want to acknowledge the enormous challenge that educators are all facing as we are tasked with doing the impossible -- to open our schools safely, at full capacity, during the height of a global pandemic. 

As you know, PAT has been working throughout August to secure additional safety measures for the start of the school year. While PPS hoped to start the year without any safety agreements besides those contained in our regular contract, this was a non-starter for PAT. On August 6, we informed the District that our Spring 2021 Safety Letter of Agreement (LOA) would remain in effect unless they met with us to update it, and the District agreed. 

Our aim has been to maintain the strong safety and mitigation measures we fought for and won last spring, to update the agreement to comply with current state mandates, and to implement new recommendations from ODE and the CDC.

The process was not as quick as we hoped, but your PAT bargaining team has been working throughout the last 3 weeks to secure updated language and keep our classrooms safe.

Tonight, around 9 pm, we reached a tentative safety agreement for the school year.

While there is no agreement that can alleviate the stress, chaos, and uncertainty of opening schools in-person during the worst moment of the pandemic in Oregon, we believe that we were able to secure safety terms that make in-person instruction possible under these admittedly difficult conditions.   

Many of you have been writing to the School Board and District leaders to amplify our demands for specific mitigations for any classroom that is not able to maintain 3 feet of distance, ensuring that the District accommodate all students who signed up for the Online Learning Academy, and creating remote positions for educators who are medically unable to be vaccinated. Your advocacy and organizing made a huge difference.

The Tentative Updated LOA maintains much of what we fought for in the spring including:

  • HEPA filters in every space where educators meet with students
  • Masking for all students and educators unless there is a documented exemption
  • Remote assignments prioritized for educators who are unable to be vaccinated due to medical condition
  • Notifying professional educators and the wider community of any COVID infection in the building
  • Safety Committees at every school
  • No educator can be directed to teach remotely and in person at the same time

The updated agreement also includes new provisions, some of which have already been put in place:

  • Re-opening registration for OLA (with over 20 additional remote educator positions to accommodate students who signed up)
  • Educators re-assigned to OLA may return to their original assignment
  • Creating new remote positions to assist students who must work remotely. 
  • Implementing the OHA Covid Asymptomatic Screening testing program
  • KN95 masks available to any educator who requests one

Physical Distancing

Physical Distance requirements have remained a sticking point to the end. We wanted to get a guaranteed minimum of at least 3 feet per student, instead of the ODE recommendation of “3 feet whenever possible.” 

Over the last few weeks, it has become clear that because of the size and number of our classrooms, the number of students in some grades and some schools, and the state mandate that physical distancing not preclude full-day in-person instruction for all students, there was not a path to achieving this goal before students returned.

The reality is that not all our classrooms will be able to maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance per student. However, we have insisted on clear mitigation measures and full transparency for educators, students, and parents in every classroom where it is not possible. We have also secured a guarantee that neither medically fragile educators nor students who cannot wear masks will be placed in classrooms with less than 3 feet of physical distance.

For classrooms that do not meet a 3 feet physical distance minimum, the District is required to explore ways to create more usable classroom space, such as by removing furniture or switching rooms. And in cases where this is not possible, the District must notify families and implement enhanced safety requirements such as doubling the number of HEPA purifiers and measuring the air exchanges in affected classrooms.  

The District is also required to enter into talks about COVID-related working conditions. We know there are a large number of issues  we need to address with the District, including how students in quarantine will be supported.  

Next Steps

Although we consider this an update to our already-ratified agreement from the spring, we know these changes are significant. We will bring these new terms to the full membership for a ratification vote. More information, including the actual updated Letter of Agreement and a ratification timeline, will be coming soon. 

In the meantime, please proceed as if these agreements are IN PLACE, including making sure your Safety Committee is up and running.

 

In Solidarity,

Elizabeth Thiel, PAT President, and the PAT Bargaining Team

October 27th 4-5PM, OEA Welcome Back Webinar: Self-Care: How to Address and Survive the Daily Life Stressors

OEA Welcome Back Webinar Series Continues:

 

Wednesday, October 27, 4:00-5:00 PM

 

Self-care is often the first thing that gets ignored when life becomes stressful. Taking care of yourself will help you to better care for your students. This webinar will help you define and better understand the importance of self-care and become a self-care advocate for yourself and others. Click here to register!

 

Please visit OEA's website for more information.

 

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

 

 

President's Message: Safety Updates

Dear Educator,

Once again, we are heading into an unprecedented school year. Despite our hopes and expectations that the worst of the COVID pandemic would be behind us by now, the Delta variant has upended everything in a matter of weeks. 

There is nothing we want more than a safe return to in-person instruction—we have been looking forward to it for almost a year and a half. But for the students we teach, their families, and all of our fellow PAT members, we have to get it right. 

Of course, many of the problems we are currently facing would be much easier to solve if we weren’t living with decades of disinvestment in our schools. For years, we have been advocating for smaller class sizes, safe school buildings, and social-emotional support for our students. We need these basic supports now more than ever.

Over the last month, the impact of the Delta variant has become undeniable. During this time, your PAT officers, bargaining team members, and staff have been working hard to ensure that we have strong safety agreements in place before the start of school. 

Here are some of the steps we have taken to maintain and to build on the agreements we made last spring:

  1.   On August 6, we notified PPS that if we do not update our standing agreement, our Spring 2021 Safety Letter of Agreement (LOA) will remain in effect.   
  2. Over the last two weeks, we surveyed all our members to identify the protections that are most important to PAT members, as well as gauge support for other safety measures that are recommended by the CDC or ODE. (More below on the PAT Survey results)
  3. We organized listening sessions with PAT members and PPS School Board directors so our elected leaders could hear firsthand what it will take to make this fall safe and successful.
  4. Based on member survey data, we have been in discussions with PPS about updating our existing LOA to preserve the safety measures we fought so hard for last year, as well as to incorporate new guidance and recommendations from the ODE and CDC.

One important update is the standard for social distancing. Last spring, we agreed that we would have 6 feet of physical distance per person in each PPS classroom. That standard is no longer supported by the CDC or state guidelines, both of which recommend 3 feet of physical distance where possible. 

Our PAT team has been clear that, in addition to maintaining previously agreed-upon safety standards such as universal mask wearing, testing and tracing, and adequate ventilation, our updated agreement must include the following:

  • Assurance of a minimum of 3 feet per person, rather than the looser standard of 3 feet “whenever possible”.  
  • That PPS open an online learning option to all students who want it.
  • That virtual positions go to educators who need a medical accommodation to teach virtually.  

By agreeing to those three conditions, as well as maintaining other safety standards from the spring, PPS would take a giant step toward ensuring safety and stability for students and staff in each building.  

Our hope is to come to a written agreement about these updates BEFORE students start school, and we will let you know as soon as we reach a deal with the District. At that point we will immediately implement a plan to explain the changes, answer questions, and support members and reps to enforce it. 

However, as of this evening, we do not have that written agreement. I will be addressing the school board tonight to publicly present PAT’s priorities for starting this year off right. (The school board meeting will begin at 6:00pm tonight- click here to watch.)

In order to secure a written agreement this week, our next steps may include taking legal action, which is likely to be a lengthy process, and organizing this week with fellow educators, parents, and community members to put pressure on the District, while we continue our talks. 

We know that there are MANY unanswered questions about how our schools will meet all of the recommended safety measures, including physical distancing, given the size of classroom spaces and the state of our buildings. However, we cannot continue to  treat teachers as the shock absorbers for a school system struggling to address a pandemic. That is not fair to our students, our communities, or to the educators who’ve been through so much during this pandemic. 

What is certain is that every safety measure we put in place now will help prevent disruptions all year long. We get one chance to reopen schools this year, and we have to do everything in our power to get it right. District leaders must have the courage to join together with teachers and families and do whatever it takes to ensure safety, stability, and equity for all students in this new school year. And we owe it to our communities to do everything we can on the front end to keep students safe before welcoming them back into our schools.  

In Solidarity,

 

Elizabeth Thiel

PAT President

 

PAT COVID-19 Safety Survey Results

Last week, over 2,300 PAT members took our COVID safety survey to help guide our work updating our Spring 2021 Letter of Agreement (LOA) on COVID safety and working conditions.

The results reveal a high level of unity around what we need to keep our students safe and maintain in-person instruction during this stage of the pandemic. You can see the complete results here.

Here are some of PAT’s highest priorities, based on your feedback:

More than 80% Strongly Support the following: 

  • Time to transition to Hybrid or CDL if conditions warrant it
  • Rapid symptomatic and screening COVID testing
  • HEPA air filters in all rooms
  • All students and staff wear masks
  • COVID outbreak notification 
  • A way to isolate without loss of pay

Additionally, more than 70% Strongly Support these protections: 

  • Protection against simultaneous online and in-person instruction
  •  Protection for distance protocols in all spaces
  • KN-95 masks for educators when students cannot wear masks
  • Online positions for educators who can’t work in-person,
  • Vaccine and testing clinics for schools that need them most
  •  Outdoors Student mask breaks 
  •  Vaccine mandate for students

Much appreciation to all of you who helped define our collective priorities by taking the survey. We are fighting hard for these additional protections as we discuss updating our COVID Safety LOA with the District. We are also using your feedback to advocate with the ODE, OHA, and local and state leaders for stronger protections for our students and school communities. 

PAT Advocacy Cadre: Member-to-Member Support for Your Contract Questions

We will have our first Advocacy Cadre Hotline of the academic school year on August 30th, 2021. The Advocacy Cadre is a group of member-educators who will work closely with the UniServ Consultants to become experts on our contracts, and to support members who need help navigating the specific language contained in our union contracts. 

Prior to contacting the Cadre Hotline, members should first speak with their building representative. 

PAT Advocacy Cadre Hotline Hours: Mondays, 5:00-6:30 PM 

Zoom Drop-In

Email: [email protected]

You can send an e-mail to the cadre at any time, but they will only be responding during Monday hotline hours. If you have an issue that requires more immediate attention please first contact your building representative or your UniServ Consultant.

This program is designed to expand our contract advocacy and provide the tools and education members need to feel empowered to enforce their contractual rights in their buildings. 

 

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/