PPS teacher contract talks end for the day - still no deal

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Portland Public Schools and the Portland Association of Teachers returned to the bargaining table Monday morning, hoping to avoid the district's first-ever teacher strike.

But the talks ended at 5 p.m. with no deal. The state mediator had another scheduled appointment after that time, according to the district.

It's been a week since both sides sat down with the mediator in a 21-hour bargaining session that came close but could not reach a deal.

The issues have not changed, but the tone has.

Last Tuesday, union president Gwen Sullivan said she's "proud," "hopeful," "pretty darn close," and assured parents they have "nothing to worry about."

Well, what a difference a week makes.

On Monday morning, Sullivan told KATU News, "Everything is up in the air."

The union released a long statement attacking the district.

"The district has sent multiple emails, including ultimatums, strong-arm tactics, and bullying behavior," Sullivan said when reading the statement on-camera.

A PPS spokesman did not respond to requests for reaction.

The school board will meet Monday night and then hold an executive session afterward.

Some parents worry that means the district is ready to put its final offer on the table. Some are planning a rally before the board meetings. They want to convince the district to keep talking, and not force a strike.

Miles said the number of school days and streamlining the hiring process are among the sticking points the two sides are working on Monday.

If there is no agreement between the district and the union, the district could enforce its final contract offer. It would have to give the union seven days notice.

The union could then declare a strike. It has to give the district ten days notice before teachers could walk off the job.

Miles told KATU's Valerie Hurst that there is no plan to close Portland schools should teachers strike. The district "may need a Friday to regroup," Miles said, but they plan to have kids in class.

KATU reporter Dan Cassuto contributed to this report.