WELCOME BACK, EDUCATORS!
Wow, what a start to the school year! We are dealing with wildfire smoke and hot classrooms, multiple curricular adoptions, new admin, new staff, less staff, “post”-pandemic student needs, national politics, racial injustice, COVID and "all the traumas, problems, and issues we had before the list above!"
Thank you for coming back. You could have chosen to teach anywhere else but you came back to our Portland students and community, and we appreciate you.
UNIONS ON THE RISE
I don’t know about y’all, but everywhere I turn I see more and more workers coming together to build unions and fight for dignity in the workplace! We have seen the federal government scramble to do something about the railroad workers possibly striking. Mental Health Nurses under Kaiser in California have been on strike for a month over staffing ratios. Seattle Teachers just ended a strike over class sizes, Special Ed caseloads, interpretation and translation services for students. Columbus EA just settled a contract in August over pay and working conditions in buildings. Unions are not only for the trades: Starbucks, Amazon, New Seasons… Our service workers know that they deserve safe and sustainable working conditions.
With this rise in unionization across the nation, we are also seeing a renewed fight on the side of the employer. Starbucks, Amazon and New Seasons have all fired several union organizers across the country. Starbucks, for example, has given extra benefits to non-unionized stores as if that “benevolent gift” will be enough to convince workers they don’t need a union… Even though they only gave these benefits due to the THREAT of a union. As Fredrick Douglass said, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”
We will get more educators into our profession by making sure we have livable wages, sustainable caseloads, safe working conditions, support for all students regardless of need, and to be treated like the trained professionals we are. The only way to make that happen is when we UNITE, when we ORGANIZE. The future of Public Education depends on it.
WHY SHOULD I READ THE ADVOCATE?
The Advocate is Portland Association of Teachers’ Bi-Monthly newsletter, keeping you up to date on what your union is doing for you, for our students, our community, and the greater good.
In the next few months, PAT will be:
- Building Union Engagement, Solidarity & Accessibility through stronger internal structures and centering Racial Equity
- Developing Community and Parent Solidarity around Community Schools through increased communication, internal & external organizing, and social media
- Creating Great Public Schools for All through our Contract Negotiations and the maintenance of our current contract
Please keep yourselves informed and up to date by checking out The Advocate, pdxteachers.org, @pdxteachers & @AbonillaPAT on Twitter, @patpres & @pdxteachers on Instagram and our public Facebook page, Portland Association of Teachers. (If you are interested in supporting our PAT communications team, please email us! We can’t compete with PPS’ ~$80k, but we have bubbly water!)
President, Portland Association of Teachers