Dear PAT Educator,
For almost all of us, this has been the most challenging year of our educational career. While we are so excited to finally see our students next month, we know that reorganizing every aspect of how we teach, again, as the new hybrid model is being built, and keeping everyone safe as the pandemic continues, will be an incredibly difficult task.
While we certainly did not choose these conditions, our union is committed to making sure we do everything we can to support our members through it, and to make sure that safety, stability, and equity for students and educators guide our work. Since August, our PAT Bargaining Team has been negotiating over safety protections and how to teach given the arrival of a vaccine and the welcome decline in COVID cases. Early this morning, we reached a tentative agreement (TA) on terms for beginning in-person hybrid instruction in our schools.
The Governor’s Executive Order seemed designed to circumvent our bargaining process and force schools to reopen, ready or not, on March 29th. Nevertheless, our Bargaining Team was unwavering in its insistence that educators have the time to properly prepare for and serve our students, that we have enforceable safety language, and that we protect our colleagues who are still vulnerable to COVID-19, or who live with people who are.
The agreement we reached, and that we will bring to you for approval this week, will not make this spring easy. But our Team has been able to negotiate terms that honor the priorities of our members. I cannot overstate the commitment and dedication of our PAT Bargaining Team throughout this entire process, so a big thank you to Steve Lancaster, Emy Markewitz, Francisca Alvarez, Andre Hawkins, Charity Powell, Thea Keith, and John Berkey.
This week we will bring this agreement to you for ratification. Here is an outline of the process:
- Monday evening: PAT Executive Board reviews Tentative Agreement, and makes recommendation to the PAT Membership.
- Tuesday, 4:30: All-Member Meeting. The PAT Bargaining Team will present the Tentative Agreement and answer questions. (REGISTER HERE)
- Tuesday-Thursday: PAT Members vote via electronic ballot on whether to ratify the TA.
- Thursday evening: PPS School Board votes on whether to ratify the Tentative Agreement, if it is approved by PAT members.
We look forward to sharing the complete agreement with you on Tuesday.
I know many of you have been following bargaining closely, and already have a good idea of what is in the agreement. Here are some important areas where we reached agreement over the weekend:
Safety Committees in every building with enforceable safety standards, to ensure spaces are suitable for students and teachers, including:
- 6 feet of space between persons in all classrooms
- Proper ventilation, with HEPA filtration systems in every space where students meet with educators
- Access to respiratory protection and other PPE where needed
- Student screening protocols
- On-site rapid testing for students and educators
Planning days before students begin:
- 5 days for PK-1 educators, with students starting hybrid on April 1 or 2
- 5 days for grades 2-5 educators, with students starting hybrid on April 5
- 3 days for grades 6-12 educators, with students starting hybrid on April 19
Weekly educator-directed minutes that are significantly more than called for in the collective bargaining agreement:
- 810 minutes a week for PK-5th grade educators
- 905 minutes a week for 6-8th grade educators
- 900 minutes a week for High School educators
- Remote assignments prioritized for educators with a medical need, or who live with someone with a medical need. The District will make every reasonable effort to effect the availability of the positions.
- Leave options for the duration of the school year for educators who otherwise cannot return to in-person instruction.
- Childcare stipend
- The ability for educators to work remotely when they are not providing in-person instruction.
Portland Association of Teachers