Classifieds at Portland Public Schools ratify two-year contract

A new two-year contract was ratified March 18 by Portland Federation of Teachers and Classified Employees (PFTCE) Local 111 and Portland Public Schools. The School Board voted 7-0 for ratification while Local 111 approved the deal 293-142.

PFTCE, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers-Oregon, represents approximately 1,200 members who hold school district support positions including secretaries, para-educators, educational assistants and library assistants. The school district and PFTCE had been negotiating since April 2003.

The two-year agreement provides for wage increases of 4 percent retroactive to November 2003 and another 4 percent increase effective July 2004. Step increases will take effect for eligible employees on April 1, 2004 and July 1, 2004, which could increase wages another 2.5 percent, said Local 111 President Kathy Hornstein.

For the first time, classified employees will have to pay a portion of the health insurance premium to cover more than one family member.

“It’s basically a three-tier system,” Hornstein said.

The school district will pay $694 per month toward the cost of medical, prescription drug, dental, vision, life and disability coverage from May 2004 to January 2005, and $764 per month starting February 2005, to cover full-time employees and one other family member. Anything over that, employees will pay a portion of the premium.

The union will retain Providence Exclusive Provider Option and the Kaiser Permanente HMO offered through the Health and Welfare Trust. It will discontinue the Trust indemnity plan, which Hornstein described as “the Cadillac plan.”

Employee co-payments for family coverage will be $44 a month for Kaiser and $366 a month for Providence.

PFTCE and the school district agreed to continue to exploring options to contain health care costs.

Labor-management committees also were created to redesign the roles of school support staff and to manage workforce development for classified employees.

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