The Portland Association of Teachers (PAT) voted to ratify a fresh contract agreement with Portland Public Schools after almost ten months of negotiations, newly announced Thursday evening. Union members have waved an ALL-CLEAR on the negotiated settlement, the deal will be brought forward to the school board Monday.
Born of nearly 24 hours of mediation sessions, this decisive new move diverts both sides from the brink of a potential strike clearing the way for the Portland school board to approve the contract at its meeting on Monday. In a statement after the vote, PAT president Gwen Sullivan invited teachers to the board meeting.
Negotiators reached a precursory agreement last week. The district claims it will hire 150 teachers, reducing class sizes and workloads for current teachers, an agreement was made for a 2-day extension to the school year, and a scheduled raise of 2.3 percent is in place for the next three years.
The strike would’ve been unprecedented in the history of Oregon’s largest district. Finally, the district agreed to meet a 93% payment of teachers’ health care premiums month-over-month. While early retirement incentives remain for longer track teachers (15+ years), opinions differ on phasing out these benefits for newer staff.
The agreements do however promise long awaited relief for some.