(FixThisNation.com) – In Oregon, a teacher strike has resulted in students in the Portland Public Schools system having a “no school November” as they have not entered the classrooms at all this month. The strike first started on Nov. 1 and it is driven by the Portland Association of Teachers (PAT) union which has thus far not managed to reach a new labor agreement with the Portland Public Schools (PPS). There are more than 4,000 teachers and educators involved in the strike which has resulted in the first time in the district’s history that around 45,000 students have been kept out of the classroom.
On Nov. 7, Oregon’s Democratic Gov. Tina Kotek stated that a mediator had been appointed to help broker the deal between the two parties. While negotiations continue, schools in the district are expected to remain closed on Tuesday. Kotek has also instructed state chief financial officer Kate Nass to be involved in the financial side of the negotiations in order to ensure that the two sides are using the same set of numbers.
The PAT union is looking for a deal that would increase benefits, and pay and would set caps on the teacher’s work schedule and classroom sizes. PPS has stated that there is still a big gap between the two sides, as the Nov. 12 proposal put forward by the union is estimated to cost around $358 million. From that amount, $100 million would be used for hiring another 352 educators. However, according to the estimations from PPS, the additional hires would cost $147 million.
Oregon is one of the few states that allows teachers to go on strikes without any restrictions. Still, restrictions exist in other emergency service providers, police and corrections officers, and firefighters who want to go on strike.
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