SALEM, Ore – Today, Representatives Vikki Breese-Iverson, Jami Cate, and Christine Goodwin announced they will pursue legislation next session limiting teacher unions from walking off the job on school days.
“Oregon students are all too familiar with school closures and learning losses. In Portland, union bosses are using nearly 44,000 students as bargaining chips in their negotiations, causing irreparable harm to Portland families,” said Representative Vikki Breese-Iverson (R-Prineville). “Portland Public Schools are the gold standard for how not to run a school district despite record investments from the state. It is time that they be held accountable.”
37 states including Washington and Idaho have laws on the books prohibiting teachers from striking. California and Oregon currently have no such law.
“I am saddened for the students whose school districts are run by far-left activists repeatedly putting politics first and students last. Teacher unions hold tremendous power, but instead of using it to prioritize the needs of students, they are making themselves part of the problem rather than the solution,” Representative Jami Cate (R-Lebanon) added.
Portland Public Schools has seen dramatic enrollment declines while having some of the highest salaries in the state, averaging in the mid-$80,000s.
“Working parents and students are hurting right now. The teacher union and PPS had all summer to negotiate before school was in session. Instead, parents have had to find ways to support their children during the eight hours per day they should be in school for nearly two weeks,” said Representative Christine Goodwin (R-Canyonville).
The representatives are exploring ways they can compel the teachers back into the classroom with minimal harm on students while allowing the two sides to negotiate.
“Teacher unions must stop using vulnerable students as pawns in a political game,” Goodwin concluded.