Page Nav



Classic Header


Breaking News:


Portland Teachers Walk Off Job, Shutting Schools For 45,000 Kids

  Teachers in   Portland   kicked off a strike on Wednesday, walking off the job and closing schools for about 45,000 students. The Portland...

 Teachers in Portland kicked off a strike on Wednesday, walking off the job and closing schools for about 45,000 students.

The Portland Association of Teachers, which represents more than 4,000 teachers in the area, is complaining about salaries, large class sizes, and not enough resources.

There are no classes, even online instruction, during the strike.

The teachers union has been bargaining with the district for months after its contract expired in June. The union said this is the first time teachers have gone on strike in the Portland school district.

Meanwhile, Portland Public Schools claims it does not have enough funds to give the union what it wants despite Oregon’s record $10.2 billion K-12 budget for the next two years. The district said the union’s demands would cost hundreds of millions of dollars more and mean staffing cuts as well.

“Funding has not kept pace with the needs of our students, nor our educators,” Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero said Wednesday. “We strive to offer a compensation that attracts and retains talent. But unlike a private organization, we don’t have record profits we can tap into.”

Salary is one of the main sticking points between the district and the union. The district’s annual base salary is about $50,000, although the average salary for a Portland teacher is $87,000, according to the district, which is slightly above the median income for a single person in the area.

The union has asked for a roughly 20% salary increase over three years, while the district has suggested offering about half that much.


Teachers say they are working overtime to handle their workload as students’ academic and mental health needs have spiked since the pandemic. The union is asking for more time for teachers to plan lessons.

On Friday, the district and the union are set to meet with a state mediator together, the superintendent said.

Declining enrollment is another factor as the Portland district has lost close to 3,000 students since the pandemic, according to state data.

The Portland strike is the latest of several school worker strikes in large cities this year.

In March, Los Angeles school workers in the country’s second-largest public school district walked off the job, shutting schools for about a half million students for three days. The workers, which included teachers’ aides, cafeteria employees, and custodians, were demanding better pay and that the district hire more people.

Then in May, teachers, librarians, counselors, and other workers went on strike in Oakland in the Bay Area for about two weeks. That union demanded higher pay, as well as housing assistance for homeless students and reparations for black students. The strike shut down the city’s public schools, and the district eventually caved on the union’s housing assistance demand.

Back in September, the Portland teachers union threatened to strike over subsidized housing for poor students as well.

The teacher strikes also come amid cost of living woes this year, especially in bigger cities, due to skyrocketing inflation.

No comments