PORTLAND -- If Portland teachers go on strike, the school district plans to keep schools open with substitutes.

Substitute teachers are represented by the same union as regular teachers, but they have a separate contract that has already been agreed upon, said Portland Public Schools spokeswoman Christine Miles.

It does have a clause in their contract saying--because their unit is a different bargaining unit from the teachers--that we do expect them to be fully available if there is a strike, she said.

A letter from PPS to substitute teachers obtained by KGW, said substitutes would be paid for five days of work, even if the strike didn't last that long, provided that the substitute showed up for work the first day of the strike. After the first five days, substitutes would be paid for each full day they work, the letter says. The letter says the work was very temporary in nature.

The Portland Association of Teachers filed a grievance Tuesday with the Oregon Employment Relations Board, complaining that the district is threatening to retaliate against subs who won't cross picket lines.

Miles said the accusation is false and the district is not bullying anyone.

We're just reminding them of their roles and responsibilities if the teachers do decide to walk out. she said. State law is very clear. One bargaining unit, the subs, can not follow another bargaining unit, the teachers, on their strike.

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