Portland Strike Continues as Teachers Seek a New Contract

(NewsSpace.com) – There have been multiple strikes this year with teachers, autoworkers, actors, and writers seeking better pay and guarantees. While the actors, writers, and autoworkers have wrapped up some of the biggest deals yet in their respective industries, the teacher’s strike in Portland, Oregon, is still going on.

As of Thursday, November 16, Portland Public Schools were closed for the 10th straight day as pickets continued in the district’s first-ever teacher strike. The Portland Association of Teachers (PAT) union took to the picket lines on November 1. The walkout consists of more than 4,000 teachers and educators who are seeking better teacher-to-student class ratios, a more manageable workload, additional time to plan, and more money.

The two sides are seemingly at a huge disparity, with millions of dollars standing between them reaching an agreement. However, the union says it offered the school district a proposal that cuts the gap by $121.6 million on Tuesday, November 14. Yet, by the next day, the union noted that while the district’s counteroffer was a bit closer to what they were seeking, “management is unwilling to put forward a comprehensive response” to address the teachers’ concerns. They remained at odds on COLA, mental health support, and class limits.

The problem, according to officials with Portland Public Schools, is that, according to the Oregon Department of Education and Oregon’s chief financial officer, there isn’t enough in the coffers to fulfill those incentives. PAT made a counter statement saying the demands could be met by shifting money, spending down reserves, and repurposing funds.

Currently, the 45,000 or so students have yet to attend class in November. Some speculate that the loss of time may result in extending the school calendar into the summer break. Some parents have joined the educators on the picket line in a mere show of support; some even brought their children along.

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