Dear PAT Colleagues:
The Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) that PAT filed against PPS has resulted in a series of major benefits for PAT Substitute Educators and all regularly employed professional educators. This resolution means that substitute educators WILL be able to work this fall, and other educators will be able to REQUEST a substitute educator.
PAT was able to gain the following benefits:
- The number of days worked in the 2019-2020 year for substitute educators to be eligible for substitute educator health insurance in 2020-2021 has been reduced from a required 70 days to at least 52 days (any combination of half and full days, adding up to at least 52).
- If a substitute educator had earned health insurance benefits in seven of the last ten years, but did not get 52 days of work last year, that educator will be eligible for insurance if they worked 37 days (combo of half and full days).
- To benefit all PAT members, PPS will resume the AESOP substitute finder system by September 14th when student instruction begins.
- All substitute educators will have required training on district approved distance learning platforms so that each educator will be able to properly substitute during Comprehensive Distance Learning.
- There will be an additional day of voluntary paid training for all substitute educators covering PPS curriculum delivery and other key educational issues. NOTE: The required and voluntary training add up to three days of paid time, which counts towards insurance for the 2021-2022 school year.
- All PAT employees and PPS administrators will receive notice that AESOP has been resumed and how to request a substitute.
We deeply regret that we had to go to such lengths to secure insurance and work for our substitute educators as well as workload relief for the rest of the PAT membership. Nonetheless, these efforts once again show the efficacy of collective action.
Portland Association of Teachers
Dear PAT Substitute Educator Colleagues:
COVID-19 has created a great deal of hardships for you and so many others, and your PAT union continues to be here fighting for you.
In May of 2020, when PPS announced that it was refusing to continue to pay substitute educators, PAT began to examine potential legal responses to the unilateral action that PPS had taken. Working with an OEA attorney, on July 29th, 2020, PAT filed an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) complaint against Portland Public Schools with Oregon Employment Relations Board (E.R.B).
Our ULP against PPS contends that PPS violated the Oregon Public Employee Collective Bargaining Act when:
- PPS refused to sign any agreement related to substitute working conditions about the COVID-19 shutdown
- PPS shut off AESOP, denying substitute educators the possibility to work
- PPS failed to follow the Governor’s order to continue to pay public school employees
In addition to those violations, PPS has notified us that they will not discuss substitute insurance eligibility for next year, while at the same time contending that the average days worked payments don’t count towards substitute insurance eligibility.
In an attempt to settle the issues as quickly as possible, PAT has agreed to a settlement conference with attorneys hired by PPS. The date for that settlement meeting should be in the next two weeks, and if a settlement can’t be reached, PAT is requesting an expedited hearing before the Oregon E.R.B.
We are saddened and shocked that PPS would treat substitute educators so poorly. PAT consistently points out how important you are to the students who attend PPS and to the educators in the regular PAT unit. Unfortunately, PPS has decided that substitutes are an expendable commodity, even though there is a substitute shortage in Oregon and Washington; they know full well that Beaverton Public Schools and Vancouver, WA schools are looking to hire substitutes. In fact, PPS would rather pay an outside legal firm to keep substitutes from insurance and income rather than do what is required by Oregon law, the Governor’s order, and the two PAT contracts.
What does all of this mean for you?
First, we are unable to tell you how many days will be required for substitute insurance eligibility. Even though PPS at one time offered 51 days for eligibility, and would not let you work to earn insurance, PPS is currently contending that substitute educators must have worked 70 or more days in 2019-2020. That unconscionable position is part of the settlement discussion, and we hope to be able to offer good news to all of you in the near future.
Secondly, we know how difficult it was for almost all of you to obtain unemployment benefits and that the cut-off of average pay in June was extremely harmful to our PAT substitute members. PAT and PPS will discuss substitute pay for June when we are in our settlement meeting. Like the issue of insurance, we are hoping for a positive outcome.
Finally, we are demanding that PPS reopen the AESOP system and that PPS provide substitute educators training on distance learning technology so that you can properly continue serving the students in PPS, and continue your support of your regularly employed PAT colleagues.
Yours in Solidarity –
Portland Association of Teachers
The PAT has been fielding many e-mails from our substitutes so we wanted to reach out to send an update to ensure everyone is getting their questions answered. Guest educators have been emailing us to find out about PPS’s plans for the academic year 2020-2021 and continued questions about Oregon Unemployment.
Plans for Next Year
The Oregon Department of Education Guidance for School Year 2020-2021 states that by August 15 all districts across the state must finalize their re-entry plans. Re-entry could range from fully reopened schools, distance learning or a hybrid model. For the past month, the PAT has been in discussions with PPS administration to ensure that whatever model PPS selects, that substitute educators will continue to be employed, either for temporary contracts or short-term, one day assignments as in past years. PAT is also advocating that PPS provide training and professional development so that substitute educators can be successful in an online learning environment.
Both the CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics have emphasized that teachers expressing Covid symptoms should be excluded from school buildings until the symptoms subside, which may result in a higher demand for substitute educators.
Questions about Unemployment
Our guest educators have also been emailing us their concerns about the continued delays with Oregon Unemployment application processing times. You can use the Online Claim System to check whether your claim has been processed and the status of each week’s payment. Click on the blue box labeled “Status of Your Claim and Weekly Reports.” Keep in mind that substitutes may be eligible for unemployment benefits through the new federal program that was recently established for gig workers and other temporary workers. The Oregon AFL-CIO provides a weekly Zoom workshop that you can attend to learn more about PUA eligibility requirements and application process. The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program is plagued with delays so please be patient when applying for the PUA program.
Health Insurance for Substitutes
Although PPS has expressed strong interest in lowering the number of days worked in the district required to be eligible for health insurance, unfortunately we have still not reached an agreement on this issue. PPS had all but agreed to reducing this eligibility requirement, but made its offer to do so contingent on the PAT agreeing to the unilateral decision to stop paying substitutes any salary in June 2020. This kind of regressive bargaining, we believe, constitutes an Unfair Labor Practice. PAT has filed a complaint and working with legal counsel to attain retroactive payment for all substitutes through the end of the 2019-20 school and a reduction in days to be eligible for health insurance for 2020-21, similar to what they had been offering to do prior to this regressive bargaining. We remain hopeful that we will win this case and will keep you updated as soon as we have additional information.
PAT-paid subscription to Rethinking Schools
For the last several years, PAT has had a bulk subscription to Rethinking Schools Magazine. Rethinking Schools is a nonprofit publisher and advocacy organization dedicated to sustaining and strengthening public education through social justice teaching and education activism. As a benefit to PAT members, we would like to offer all members an opportunity to access Rethinking Schools Magazine through a PAT-paid online subscription.
If you would like to have an online subscription to Rethinking Schools Magazine, please sign up here by July 20. PAT will pay the cost for a one-year online subscription, and will forward your email address to Rethinking Schools. You will be able to access the current issues as well as archives, through your on-line subscription. Not a PAT member? Sign up here!
Portland Association of Teachers
FAQ's for Substitutes (as of 5-5-20)
While the coronavirus pandemic has us asking more questions than there are answers, please CLICK HERE to get clarity on some of the most pressing questions we've received from our substitute members.
OEA Relief Fund for Subs
In recognition that substitute educators have been disproportionately affected by a loss of income due to the COVID-19 school closure, OEA has opened up its Relief Fund to all OEA Union members employed as substitutes who have experienced a loss in salary during this time.
You can find more information about the OEA Relief Fund and complete an application by clicking here.
Each individual applicant will be awarded up to a maximum of $1,000 after the application is processed. To be eligible to receive funds, you must have become an OEA member by March 2nd, 2020.
We appreciate all your work and hope you continue to be well.
Substitute Teachers Bargaining Update
Today, May 10, 2017, your team met with the PPS team from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM for a bargaining session. The tone of the bargaining remains cordial, and both sides are continuing to reach agreement on some items, while clarifying issues or dropping proposals as we work toward an agreement.Continue reading
Sub Bargaining Update
As all of you know, the 2012 – 2016 Substitute Teachers’ Agreement expired on June 30, 2016. We reported to all Substitutes that we entered into an MOU with the District that extended the terms of the CBA until December 30, 2016. Unfortunately, we were unable to get a successor agreement in place before the expiration on December 30. During the period after a contract has expired and before a new contract is finalized, state law requires districts to generally maintain the status quo on contract provisions.