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The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1026 has sent out a letter to the American Federation of Teachers asking them to reconsider the unionizing process in the Portland, Ore., school system.
This comes after last week’s announcement that the AFT agreed to contract concessions in order for the Portland School Bureau to avoid being placed into receivership. It’s the first time the Portland School Bureau has had the ability to contract out contracts. But the union has been asking to negotiate the right of the Portland School Bureau to negotiate on its own, as its membership has been split over the issue. The union has argued its decision to accept the contract concessions was based on its collective leadership’s belief that the public schools were in dire need of a change in leadership. Local 1026 is the largest SEIU-backed local in the nation, with 350,000 teachers in the district. It isn’t exactly surprising that the union would take this step, however in an exclusive with The Oregonian/OregonLive after the vote, the union’s president, Kathy Hayhoe, is less than enthusiastic.
“It’s a little disappointing. It’s very disappointing,” Hayhoe told OP. “Portland is a city that’s known to be a very open and accepting city with the unions. As an elected official and as a person who was on the ballot with people in this city for two years, it’s disappointing that they would make this concession without even consulting me.”
In a post on her campaign’s website, Hayhoe wrote of the vote:
We will not be compromising our values of democracy, community, or equality in order to get something in return for a small amount of money or for a promise of what they think it will be — we will fight for our democracy and for a better city for all our children. I sincerely hope that they will reconsider. In the meantime, I’m asking you, and everyone else like you to stand with me and fight for a new mayor in Portland who will make our schools a world class learning place for all our children in 2017.
Hayhoe, who made several remarks after the vote about the union’s position in the district, says the union was never going to sign off on anything, but she said the union’s own bargaining committee agreed with union leadership on an opportunity to negotiate a change in leadership, which included the contract concessions. While she recognizes what the district has to offer, she says that the district failed to do
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