Teacher contract talks at ‘impasse’

2:51 pm

In an e-mail to the community, school board presiding co-chair Trudy Sargent writes that the district has informed state mediators that negotiations for a teacher contract have reached an impasse, 583 days after the last contract expired.

Now that an impasse has been declared, both sides have seven days to publish final offers, after which there is a 30-day cooling off period. That means a teacher lockout or strike is possible as early as mid-March.

Update: Portland Association of Teachers president Rebecca Levison e-mailed us this statement in response to the district’s PR blitz:

Portland Teachers have continually sacrificed for their students. They have taken salary freezes, they have reduced their health benefits, they have eliminated benefits and they even worked ten days without pay to keep all students in school. No others made that sacrifice, not even the highest paid employees.

The truth is, the District’s proposal would increase workload, eliminate teacher rights, and result in perhaps the lowest beginning teacher salary of the entire Metro 14 school districts. At the same time, many upper level management employees received up to $15,000 this year in pay increases.

Upper management continues to demonstrate weak leadership and poor judgment from the K- 8 and high school redesign to teacher negotiations and relationships.

PAT will continue to work for a fair settlement for Portland teachers.

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Steve Rawley published PPS Equity from 2008 to 2010, when he moved his family out of the district.

filed under: Labor Relations, School Board

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15 Responses

  1. Comment from Miss Merry Sunshine:

    Son-of-a-biscuit, the PPS really has made clear what they think of teachers!!! (Zarwen, don’t beat up on me for using caps, but here I go): IF THERE EVER WAS A REASON FOR A TEACHER STRIKE, EVEN WITH HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT AND A RECESSION, THIS IS IT.

    The PPS thinks of teachers as lower than slugs on the food chain. This taxpayer lost respect for the board under Hurricane Vicki and is THOROUGHLY DISGUSTED with the way teachers in this district are treated!

    I’ll be out there walking the picket lines, and drumming up support in my neighborhood. There’s more out there FOR TEACHERS than the board realizes…..

  2. Comment from by97225:

    Why not concentrate on fewer things? I think some of the big stuff (pay, benefits) get lost in the nitpicky stuff (an extra 7.5 minutes). I think a lot of people see the nitpicky stuff as ridiculous, but that’s just my opinion.

  3. Comment from ppsvet:

    They always wanted a strike to try to break the union. They just wanted to wait for teachers to canvas and phone bank for 66 & 67 so if they failed they could declare a financial crisis and impose their ‘contract’ or if the measures passed they figured they didn’t need the teachers anymore and they could impose their ‘contract’.

    Remember they went to the beach the weekend before the vote. They were too important to help. The board and Carole Smith are beneath contempt. I’ll walk as a proud union rep.

  4. Comment from Whitebuffalo:

    Is this a shock? 583 days and we’re calling it an impasses? Heck, it’s been at an impasse for 583 days. How much weaker can the PAT look by agreeing to work that long without a contract? The district holds most of the cards and the poor economy only plays into their hands. PAT has to settle or strike, knuckle under or get a backbone.

  5. Comment from Miss Merry Sunshine:


    I couldn’t agree with you more, but I don’t think teachers per se have a backbone in this district, most of them are just plain chicken-SH** AND wouldn’t go on strike if a knife were held to their throats–AND IT IS. There are too many in my building who suck up and wouldn’t go the distance, too concerned about their next paycheck’, rather than the big picture. In debt up to their necks, and mouths to feed.

    Congratulations, PPS, you may have really, truly broken the union this time!! Job well done.

    Carole Smith, and board members, you are beneath contempt, your behavior and actions toward teachers do not even come within miles of matching YOUR WORDS. Your despicable behavior toward teachers will resonate in this town for years to come, and will not be forgotten. I wish I knew a good voodoo doctor.

  6. Comment from Zarwen:

    Merry, you know I have never beaten up on you—only expressed concern for your health and well-being. But if any occasion ever justified the use of caps (=SHOUTING!!), I’d say this is it.

    I no longer work for the District, but when I got that piece of crap from Trudy in my email, I couldn’t believe it. Do they really expect parents to rally around THEM against their children’s teachers? Especially after all the $ and supplies they have wasted this year? What planet are they living on???

    I don’t belong to the PAT any more, but I hope there is still a place for me on the picket line.

  7. Comment from marcia:

    Everyone in my building is ready to strike…they just keep asking when …enuff already…PPS needs to take everything off the table except the money issue, and bargain from there….Someone needs to get a grip with reality…and it is not the teachers.

  8. Comment from doug:

    Who do voodoo? I do voodoo…got my dolly here, and pins in hand…

  9. Comment from Steve Rawley:

    Seven and a half minutes doesn’t mean a heck of a lot/Seven and a half minutes doesn’t mean a thing./But take it from me every day, every day for every week…

    It may sound nit-picky, but it’s not about a few minutes… it’s about non-educator administrators attempting to seize what remains of teachers’ power.

  10. Comment from Whitebuffalo:

    A real sticking point is the number of classes a teacher at the HS will teach. The contact hours is a “camel nose under the tent” strategy. If the contact time increases the number of classes a teacher sees goes up. So a HS that sees 5 classes with 35 each (some are more) is 175 kids (and papers and tests to grade). That could go up to 215 with this contact increase. So really you’re increasing the workload without compensation, THAT’S what’s behind this. They’re stretched thin already. Some take sick days to stay home and grade papers (can you imagine taking a day off from work to catch up on your work?).

    Much sabre rattling to ensure for 37 days. Cross your fingers for cooler heads, calmer thinking.

  11. Comment from Whitebuffalo:

    Clarification: the contact hours increase would add another class. Teachers teach 5 in a 7 period day and would have 6 classes adding those extra 30+ kids.

  12. Comment from Carrie Adams:

    Whitebuffalo, do you know if the high school redesign was created with the assumption that high school teachers would teach 6 classes?

  13. Comment from Whitebuffalo:

    I’m not sure. I hear speculation that to that effect though. The administrators jobs would be simpler if HS teachers would teach 6 then the district wouldn’t have to come up with more FTE. Whether there is a strike vote or not will come down to this issue not money. Teachers will be painted as greedy, asking for more money in a down economy and that’s an overly simplistic (cynical) view. The real issue for HS is workload. I don’t know that even if fairly compensated that teachers can add another class and adequately feel like their serving their students. Their stressed as it is.

  14. Comment from HS teacher:

    I think most teachers would agree to an increased workload IF the district would offer up something for it. 2% is not even cost of living (remember this offer is for 2008 AND I think the last raise we got was 1% about 6 years ago). yeah, I know the economy sucks. It’s just that you can’t ask for more and offer nothing!

  15. Comment from Zarwen:

    Sure you can! They’ve been doing it as long as I have lived here—since 1992, at least.