Teacher strike ends in Philadelphia with contract about Catholic identity
By Kevin J. Jones
Credit: Uwe Kempa. (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Credit: Uwe Kempa. (CC BY-SA 2.0)

.- Catholic high school teachers in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia will return to classes after agreeing to a new contract on Sept. 19. The contract includes provisions about job security and the importance of the Catholic identity of the schools.

“I’m very grateful that our teachers ratified this contract today,” Richard McCarron, the archdiocese’s Secretary for Catholic Education, told a press conference Monday. “We view this contract as a watershed contract for the archdiocese’s schools.”

“It really gives us a cutting-edge program for the students and parents that we serve.”

More than 700 teachers began the strike on Sept. 6. They cited proposed changes in tenure and sick leave as well as plans to increase use of part-time instructors as their reasons for the walkout. Administrators backing a new contract pointed to the need to update the local Catholic educational system.

The new contract includes better job protections for instructors, pay increases totaling about 8.3 percent over an individual’s three-year contract, and provisions about Catholic identity.

“It was never about money. It was about job security and it was about respect,” said Rita Schwartz, president the Association of Catholic Teachers Local 1776.

The contract affirms the vital importance of the presence of vowed religious faculty members. It requires all teachers to assist in the religious formation and education ministry of the school.

While some labor leaders had proposed mediation for the contract dispute, McCarron said mediation might have interfered with Catholic identity measures.

“We had several Catholic identity issues on the table to preserve the religious teaching faculty in our schools,” McCarron explained. “We inserted a preamble at the beginning of the contract which discussed our faith formation process. There are several times where we refer to attendance at religious exercises and retreats.

“We did not want to have an outside person enter into those discussions with us, because they are central to our mission.”

Under the new contract, all teachers will be required to use a computerized grading system which allows parents to monitor their children’s performance. The contract will expand the archdiocese’s online course offerings and will allow schools to create pilot programs to address certain issues.

Archdiocesan education officials said that no full-time teachers will be replaced by part time teachers. The contract creates special provisions for each school to choose two departments in which they may hire additional part-time teachers.

“We regret that the strike caused a delay in the school year and inconveniences for you,” McCarron and school superintendent Mary E. Rochford said in a Sept. 19 letter to parents. “Please know that our only desire was to continue to offer the best academic programs possible for your children.”

There are 16,502 students at 17 archdiocesan high schools in the five-county Philadelphia region.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic

Liturgical Calendar

April 25, 2014

Friday within the Octave of Easter

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Jn 21:1-14


Daily Readings

Saint of the Day

St. Mark, the Evangelist »


Homily of the Day

Jn 21:1-14


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: