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Portland Teachers Authorize a Strike

By October 20, 2023Media, News
A sign that reads "Ready to Strike"

You may have heard the news: Yesterday, 99% of Portland teachers voted to authorize a strike. For me, this is an incredibly proud and personal moment, the culmination of years of organizing to advocate for better conditions in our schools. Kids and families in our community deserve better, and it’s been so inspiring to watch teachers, parents, kids and fellow school professionals in my community stand up to fight for it.  

Three teachers standing in a a group of teachers in front of a sign that reads "Diverse Students deserve diverse teachers"

Last week, hundreds of teachers and school personnel gathered with parents, students, and other community supporters at a school board meeting in show of community solidarity for strike-ready teachers.

Last week, the Portland Mercury published a great feature on what teachers are asking for, which discusses one of the issues I am most passionate about—the fact that many Portland teachers, especially those just starting out, can no longer afford to live in the communities where they teach. This is a problem that extends far beyond education, but it hits especially close to home right now. “Workforce housing”—housing that is affordable for middle-income workers like police officers, firefighters, teachers, health care workers, and retail clerks—is something I plan to focus on if elected to City Council. 

I have been amazed and overwhelmed by the community support for the issues that the union has centered in their bargaining platform—from improved teacher pay to help teachers live where they work and help schools attract and retain amazing educators; to smaller class sizes and healthier buildings that center kids’ learning; to enhanced behavioral health supports for students in crisis. 

“The core thing is that this is about the kids. We can’t afford not to center them and invest in them.” —Tiffany Koyama Lane, Portland Mercury

Read the full Portland Mercury article.  

There is still time for the district to offer a contract that addresses our most important demands, and I hope they will. But if they don’t, we are ready.  

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