local | Education | School Strikes And Labor Disputes

Portland Public Schools Challenges Legality Of Pending Teachers' Strike

OPB | Feb. 12, 2014 3:47 p.m. | Updated: Feb. 14, 2014 11:06 a.m. | Portland

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Portland Public Schools has filed a complaint with Oregon’s Employment Relations Board, seeking to declare the pending teachers’ strike illegal. 

Portland Public Schools administration building.

Portland Public Schools administration building.

Rob Manning / OPB

The petition focuses on the Portland Association of Teachers’ effort to use the contract to rein in class size.

School districts don’t have to bargain class size under Oregon law, and Portland Public doesn’t want to. The district says the union repeatedly focuses on class size.  P.A.T. has proposed that teachers be paid more, if they have a lot of students. P.A.T. says that is a compensation issue. The union has filed a complaint over the district’s refusal to discuss it.

Portland outside counsel John Bishop says the district’s petition is one of several distractions.

“There’s a filing of an unfair labor practice, there was a filing of a petition to declare the strike unlawful, and then subsequently they filed a second petition to declare a strike unlawful, alleging that there’s a substitute strike,” Bishop says. “It unquestionably interferes with the bargaining process.”

Mediation is scheduled to resume Thursday.

Teachers intend to strike on Feb. 20, if no deal is reached before then.

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