October 11th, 2010 5:33 pm | by BETH SLOVIC News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Schools, Politics

PPS Confronts New Labor Dispute; Custodians and Food-Service Workers Plan Rally

PPS Custodian James Dean

Eight months after protracted talks between Portland Public Schools and its teachers ended in a new three-year agreement, the school district enters another season of bitter labor negotiations.

This time it's SEIU Local 503/140, which represents about 300 district custodians and several hundred more food-service workers in school cafeterias. SEIU and PPS enter state-monitored mediation tomorrow. And to rally supporters to their side, SEIU representatives are staging a rally before Tuesday night's School Board meeting at 4:30 pm outside district headquarters near the Rose Garden.

Previous contract talks with the custodians and food-service workers in 2007 became ugly after PPS officials tried to slash wages. The final agreement was more generous than the district's opening offer; it didn't cut custodians' wages and it did offer a 2.5 cost-of-living increase for food-service workers. Then came the recession.

In February 2010, the Portland Association of Teachers union agreed to no cost-of-living increase for 2009-2010 and a 2 percent cost-of-living increase for 2010-2011.
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