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News & Politics News & Politics

Teacher Union selfishness hits my home town

Posted by on Feb. 6, 2014 at 12:28 PM
  • 79 Replies

Portland teachers authorize strike

Portland to take a strike vote, Feb. 5, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)
Teachers gather at the Arlene Schnitzer Hall in Portland to take a strike vote, Feb. 5, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The members of the Portland Association of Teachers voted Wednesday night to authorize a strike.

The strike was authorized through a voice vote.

They didn’t need ballots as this was not a split decision. It was an overwhelming voice of teachers like Nicole O’Brien. She told KOIN 6 News she’ll go on strike if it means a better classroom for her 7th- and 8th-grade social studies students at Marysville.

“I loved that the main issue is workload,” she said. “That’s my issue and to hear it said by everybody, that’s what we care about.”

In a statement issued almost immediately after the vote, the PAT said they will issue a strike notice to the Employment Relations Board and the Portland Public Schools district calling for a strike that begins on Thursday, Feb. 20.

“Portland teachers are united and resolved to stand up for our students’ learning conditions,” said PAT president Gwen Sullivan in a statement. “It’s time to move this to a conclusion so that we can have a contract that is fair for teachers and good for students.”

In response, Pam Knowles and Greg Belisle,the co-chairs of the Portland School Board, said in a joint statement, “We know that a strike would be extremely disruptive for students and families. Our goal is to reach an agreement that adds teachers to schools, adds school days, raises teacher pay and maintains strong benefits, and helps Portland keep and hire the best educators for our classrooms while keeping our spending in line with projected state funding.”

If teachers do strike, they will get strike pay — which can be less than half their regular pay.

“It’s never been about the salary,” said school counselor Andrea Nahurski. “It’s been about making the right decisions to affect long term improvements for schools and conditions and class sizes.”

Sullivan said the district has no business holding more than $30 million in reserve when it could use some of that money to reduce class sizes. If it takes a strike to get the district to budge, she said, so be it.

“The district really needs to know that teachers don’t want to do this but we will if we have to,” she told KOIN 6 News. “When they have the opportunity to make things better, put more money in the classrooms,  that’s what they should be doing.”

The teachers and the district have been negotiating a contract since March 2013. The district declared an impasse on Nov. 20.

Since that time, Portland Public Schools and PAT have spent hundreds of hours in mediation over issues including class size, salary increases and early retirement incentives.

The next mediation session between PPS and PAT is set for Feb. 9.

KOIN 6 News will continue to follow this story.

by on Feb. 6, 2014 at 12:28 PM
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Replies (1-10):
Billiejeens
by Ruby Member on Feb. 6, 2014 at 12:33 PM
8 moms liked this

"The teachers and the district have been negotiating a contract since March 2013. The district declared an impasse on Nov. 20."

The District should decertify the Union, fire the teachers and replace them and the union immediately.

sillygirl83
by Member on Feb. 6, 2014 at 1:06 PM
2 moms liked this

I would love love love to see the union gone and the teachers fired and replaced by people that actually care about the students, but I'm not going to get my hopes up.

UpSheRises
by Silver Member on Feb. 6, 2014 at 5:22 PM

 You don't have to use the free option...sometimes it isn't the best. To you hae access to private schools i your area?

Quoting sillygirl83:

I would love love love to see the union gone and the teachers fired and replaced by people that actually care about the students, but I'm not going to get my hopes up.

 

UpSheRises
by Silver Member on Feb. 6, 2014 at 5:22 PM

Its illegal for teachers in my state to strike...apparently that isn't the case for everyone?

VoodooVixen
by Bronze Member on Feb. 6, 2014 at 5:28 PM
4 moms liked this
I see nothing selfish here. Seems you just dislike that it will cause an inconvenience.
mjmorrison
by Member on Feb. 6, 2014 at 5:28 PM

the teachers in my area had a big wake-up call when the district advertised for 4 kindergarten teachers and received 680+ applicants

frndlyfn
by on Feb. 6, 2014 at 5:30 PM
2 moms liked this

I see it as they do want better for their students and really feel this is the only option to get heard.  As much as i love the no sales tax there, I think a sales tax could alleviate alot of issues.   What is the district holding on to the money for?

blueforewolf
by on Feb. 6, 2014 at 7:57 PM
2 moms liked this

I have not received a raise of any kind for 7 years, not even a cost of living increase.  Not only that but 3 years of that I went with less pay to help the district keep some of it's employees (not just teachers, but counselors and nurses) and now that the district has some money they twiddle it away with nonsense instead of giving increases in salary that devoted teachers deserve, and hiring more teachers so that the classes are smaller.  I do care about my students, I pay with my own money for  things that the district does not supply. I knew when I went into this profession that the pay would be just ok - however I do not do this as charity work, I am a professional and expect to at least get cost of living increases.  What happen to all the money that was suppose to go to education from the lottery - lol! what a farce

JoshRachelsMAMA
by JRM on Feb. 6, 2014 at 8:02 PM
What did the district do with the money?

Quoting blueforewolf:

I have not received a raise of any kind for 7 years, not even a cost of living increase.  Not only that but 3 years of that I went with less pay to help the district keep some of it's employees (not just teachers, but counselors and nurses) and now that the district has some money they twiddle it away with nonsense instead of giving increases in salary that devoted teachers deserve, and hiring more teachers so that the classes are smaller.  I do care about my students, I pay with my own money for  things that the district does not supply. I knew when I went into this profession that the pay would be just ok - however I do not do this as charity work, I am a professional and expect to at least get cost of living increases.  What happen to all the money that was suppose to go to education from the lottery - lol! what a farce

mcclanto
by New Member on Feb. 6, 2014 at 8:12 PM
2 moms liked this

What are the current class sizes?  The article is kind of vague. 

I'm not always for strikes, but sometimes they are needed.  I know our district could use a wake up call.  They have spend a ton of money on landscaping and changing the bus drop off three times in three years. While class sizes were creeping up to 30 per class.  I think that money could be better spent on education and not landscaping. 

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