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.