UNITED STATES NEWS

Teachers kick off strike in Portland, Oregon, over class sizes, pay and resources

Nov 1, 2023, 8:58 AM

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Teachers in Portland, Oregon, walked off the job on Wednesday for the first day of a strike that will shutter schools for some 45,000 students in Oregon’s largest city.

Concerns over large class sizes, salaries that haven’t kept up with inflation and a lack of resources prompted the strike, one of the latest signs of a growing organized labor movement in the U.S. that’s seen thousands of workers in various sectors take to the picket lines this year.

The Portland Association of Teachers, which represents more than 4,000 educators, said it was the first-ever teacher’s strike in the school district. The union has been bargaining with the district for months for a new contract after its previous one expired in June.

Portland Public Schools did not respond to requests for comment on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.

Schools are closed and there is no classroom or online instruction during the strike.

Mike Bauer, a union representative and special education teacher at Cleveland High School, said teachers were stressed about the strike but felt it was the right way to advocate for their students. He said that smaller class sizes would both lighten educators’ workload and help them give students more individualized attention if they’re struggling.

“It’s about the kids,” said Bauer, who’s been teaching in Portland for nearly 20 years. “It’s about the sustainability of the job and the longevity of our jobs.”

Questions of pay — particularly for teachers just starting their career — have also been raised as the cost of living has increased in Portland, he said. The annual base salary in the district starts at roughly $50,000.

“I’ve seen many people quit within their first five years,” he said. “At the end of the day, we need teachers.”

Nearly two weeks ago, the union announced that 99% of teachers voted in favor of the labor action, with 93% of its members participating in the ballot.

After the union voted to authorize the strike, the district said it wanted to reach a fair settlement. “We ask our educators to stay at the table with us, not close schools,” it said in an emailed statement on Oct. 20.

Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek had urged the union and the school district to come to an agreement and avoid a walkout.

Public education has been gripped by a series of high-profile strikes this year.

In the Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation’s second-largest, workers including teachers’ aides, cafeteria workers and custodians walked out for three days in March to demand better wages and increased staffing, shutting down education for half a million students.

In Oakland, California, the union representing teachers, counselors, librarians and other workers went on strike for more than a week in May. In addition to typical demands such as higher salaries, it also pushed for “common good” changes, such as reparations for Black students and resources for students who are homeless.

___

Claire Rush is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

United States News

Associated Press

UN approves more transparent procedures for people and entities to get off its sanctions lists

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations Security Council unanimously approved more transparent procedures Friday for the hundreds of individuals, companies and other entities who are subject to U.N. sanctions and want to get off the blacklists. The resolution, co-sponsored by Malta and the United States, also authorizes the establishment of a new informal working […]

22 minutes ago

FILE - Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee, D-Texas, speaks during a House Judiciary Committee meeting, Dec. 13...

Associated Press

Longtime US Rep Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, who had pancreatic cancer, has died

Longtime U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, who helped lead federal efforts to protect women from domestic violence and recognize Juneteenth as a national holiday, has died. She was 74. Lillie Conley, her chief of staff, confirmed Friday night that Jackson Lee, who had pancreatic cancer, had died. The Democrat had represented her Houston-based […]

25 minutes ago

Stools line the bar at Elwood's Liquor and Tap on Thursday, July 18, 2024 in Milwaukee, Wis. This w...

Associated Press

Outside the RNC, small Milwaukee businesses and their regulars tried to salvage a sluggish week

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Jay Nelson was standing outside the convenience store he manages in downtown Milwaukee when one of his regular customers walked by on her daily stroll around the neighborhood. “I’ve been telling people to come and buy even just a bottle of wine,” she said, stretching out her arms. “I hope it helps.” […]

41 minutes ago

Descendants of Nelson Bell, brothers Milford Fonza, front left, and Elmer Fonza, front right, surro...

Associated Press

In a California gold rush town, some Black families are fighting for land taken from their ancestors

COLOMA, Calif. (AP) — In a tiny town where the California gold rush began, Black families are seeking restitution for land that was taken from their ancestors to make way for a state park now frequented by fourth graders learning about the state’s history. Their efforts in Coloma, a town of around 300 people that’s […]

42 minutes ago

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich stands listening to the verdict in a glass cage of a ...

Associated Press

Russia convicts US journalist of spying in a trial widely seen as politically motivated

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich was convicted Friday of espionage and sentenced to 16 years in a maximum-security prison on charges that his employer and the U.S. government have rejected as fabricated.

47 minutes ago

An image of President Joe Biden is projected on a screen during the final night of the 2024 Republi...

Associated Press

Biden’s ability to win back skeptical Democrats tested at a perilous moment for his campaign

WASHINGTON (AP) — Despite a week of campaign stops, interviews and a determined insistence he is the best candidate to confront Republican Donald Trump, President Joe Biden’s efforts to revive his reelection bid and win over skeptical Democrats have done little to soften the push for him to exit the 2024 race. Biden has weighty […]

48 minutes ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinic visits boost student training & community health

Going to a Midwestern University Clinic can help make you feel good in more ways than one.

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

Teachers kick off strike in Portland, Oregon, over class sizes, pay and resources