Portland teachers’ union reaches tentative deal to end strike

(Reuters) – The union representing public school teachers in Portland, Oregon, reached a tentative deal with the public school district on Sunday, ending a nearly one-month-long strike that had forced scores of schools to close and kept students out of class.

After months of negotiations, “we have tentatively agreed to a contract with the Portland Association of Teachers (PAT),” the Portland Public Schools District said in a post on Facebook.

The strike involved more than 4,000 educators and affected about 45,000 students across 81 schools in one of the largest school districts in the Pacific Northwest, and the largest in Oregon.

“Together with Portland families and our community, we were able to secure major victories on the key issues most important to students, educators, and our schools,” the PAT said in a post.

The tentative deal includes a total 13.75% cost-of-living increase over the next three years, with a 6.25% raise in the first year of the contract, followed by a 4.5% and a 3% jump in subsequent years, the union said.

Prior to launching the strike on Nov. 1, the union had requested a 23% cost-of-living increase over the next three years, but the district countered with a 10.9% hike instead.

The union members will need to ratify the terms, and the school board will also need to approve the full contract, which is expected in a Tuesday meeting, the school district said on Sunday.

The students are expected to return on Monday and the school will start two hours late, it added.

(Reporting by Baranjot Kaur in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)