Portland, Ore. — Teachers in Oregon’s largest school system, Portland Public Schools (PPS), have voted to authorize a strike after the district and the Portland Association of Teachers (PAT) failed to reach an agreement, as confirmed by a social media post from PAT. The post, shared on Facebook, indicates that 99% of Portland teachers voted in favor of the strike.
PPS Communications Director, Will Howell, issued a statement, expressing the district’s commitment to achieving a fair and sustainable settlement through continued negotiations. Howell urged educators to remain at the bargaining table and avoid school closures.
PPS parents and community members were informed that teachers plan to commence the strike on November 1, according to a district newsletter. Our News Partner KGW has reached out to PAT to verify this information.
This strike authorization follows another unsuccessful attempt at an agreement between the union and the school district. In preparation for the strike, PPS administrators held a virtual meeting with families, outlining the contingency plan, which includes the closure of schools with no in-person or online instruction. However, students will have access to self-directed lessons from home, and qualifying families can obtain grab-and-go meals. Varsity sports will continue, while other extracurricular activities may be postponed or rescheduled, with additional information available on the PPS website.
The teachers’ demands include increased funding, better wages with cost-of-living adjustments, smaller class sizes, and more dedicated preparation time each week. PPS has stated that meeting these demands would exceed their budget capabilities, with a nearly $230 million gap between the district’s offer and the union’s requests.
Dr. Renard Adams, a member of the district’s bargaining team, noted that even if all administration costs were eliminated, there still wouldn’t be enough funding to bridge the gap between the PAT proposal and the PPS proposal.
The PAT previously issued a statement expressing disappointment in the district’s commitment to reaching an agreement that addresses students’ needs. They’ve called for more bargaining dates and increased funding and resources to prevent the strike.