President’s Message: Ending the Year Strong!

Hello educators! Only 2 more Tuesdays until the end of the year. You all got this!

I have been reflecting about our work as a union as I approach the end of my first year as your PAT President. This year, together, PAT and our community has:

  • Completed 143 days of bargaining
  • Elected 2 former educators to our PPS School Board
  • Trained over 100 educators during our Fall Rep Retreat
  • Elected new leaders to our PAT Executive Board
  • Presented and spoke at over 80% of the General PPS School Board Meetings for the 22-23 School Year
  • Added new chairs and co-chairs to 80% of our PAT Committees and increased membership in at least 70% of our current committees
  • Held 4 Community Listening sessions in schools in NE, N, SE Portland
  • Held an impromptu rally of over 200 educators when bargaining was canceled
  • Had our sites sign Bargaining Petition Posters pledging to fight for Safe, Sustainable and Equitable Schools
  • Received training and input through larger labor organizations like Bargaining for the Common Good, Casa Común, Leaven Community Coalition, NEA’s Strategic Campaign Institute, Labor Notes, and with UTLA/NEA Vice President Alex Caputo-Pearl and Organizer and Author Jane McAlevey
  • Held several actions and rallies at the PPS Board Meetings with over 900 educators attending over the course of the year
  • Held our first ever All Representative Summit with almost 200 member-leaders coming together to prepare for the next steps in our Bargaining Campaign
  • Had over 100 educators observe our Bargaining Session in May
  • Organized and advocated for increased school funding through testimony in Salem, submitting written statements and emails, and won an increase in the State School Fund allocation from $9.9B to $10.2B
  • Strengthened our coalition with fellow PPS unions with the goal of building sustainable, safe and equitable schools
  • Built connections & held information sessions with school PTAs and community organizations across the city, kick starting the conversation around repealing the Kicker
  • Held our first Contract Action Team Meeting in June with over 50 educators ready to help us win Great Public Schools for all PPS Students

And last, but not least, educated, mentored, supported and cared for the 45,456 students attending Portland Public Schools this year!

Give yourselves a PAT on the back (pun intended)! 

All of this is a reminder: WE are the heart of Portland Public Schools. Our students, their families, our communities, anyone who lives in and loves this city, who is here for the long haul, is Portland Public Schools. We will not stop until Portland Public Schools is a place where everyone wants to work and learn. 

The next step is to continue to build and demonstrate our power to win the most ambitious contract proposal of our lifetimes at PPS. It will take all of us to win. Your work this Hot Labor Summer is to wear blue, stay cool, get ready for the fight of our careers this fall. As we chanted during our Representative Retreat this fall:

It is our duty to fight for our freedom.
It is our duty to win.
We must love each other and support each other.
We have nothing to lose but our chains.

Keep an eye out for Summer Editions of the Advocate. And in case no one told you today, you are awesome and you are loved.

In Solidarity,

Angela Bonilla

President, Portland Association of Teachers