Portland teachers to take strike vote next week

FILE - Portland teachers rally Friday, Nov. 22, 2013, at the east end of the Burnside Bridge to call attention to stalled labor talks with Portland Public Schools. (Jonathan House/Portland Tribune)
FILE - Portland teachers rally Friday, Nov. 22, 2013, at the east end of the Burnside Bridge to call attention to stalled labor talks with Portland Public Schools. (Jonathan House/Portland Tribune)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland teachers will vote next week to authorize a strike.

Union leader announced the vote for Wednesday, Feb. 5, at Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.

The Oregonian reports a strike would be the first walkout in the history of Oregon’s largest school district.

Meanwhile, a mediation session is set for Friday between Portland Public Schools and the Portland Association of Teachers.

The district declared an impasse Nov. 20 with unresolved issues on class size, salary increase and early retirement incentives.

The district has 48,000 students and 2,900 teachers.

In response, PPS released the following statement Wednesday morning:

“We are disappointed that PAT has taken a step closer toward a strike by scheduling a strike vote. A strike by PAT would be devastating to Portland’s students and families.  A strike by PAT would undermine Portland’s schools, which are now gaining stability after years of state funding cuts.

“For more than 10 months, PPS has been working to reach an agreement with PAT. PPS has refrained from taking any immediate unilateral action to impose working conditions on our teachers. We continue to stay true to our commitment to reaching a settlement at the table. Tomorrow we will be in mediation with PAT, and we will continue to negotiate for an agreement that is in the best interests of Portland’s students.”

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Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

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