The Association of Catholic Teachers has put pressure on the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to let the 125 custodians and maintenance workers of the archdiocese’s 21 high schools unionize.
The workers had expressed interest in joining the union last spring. However, the archdiocese refused to hold a private election to decide whether the workers could be represented by the teachers’ union, reported the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Due to the archdiocese’s stance, the Association of Catholic Teachers filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board seeking an election, and a labor relations board hearing is planned for Friday.
The teachers’ association also turned to the Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO for help.
Council president Patrick Eiding agreed to send a letter to AFL-CIO affiliates asking them to urge the archbishop, Justin Cardinal Rigali, to reconsider the archdiocese's position.
In a statement, the archdiocese said it was opposed to the involvement of the National Labor Relations Board and would challenge the board’s ability to “interfere with the right of religious schools to conduct their mission."
If the matter is not resolved by September, Rita C. Schwartz, president of the Catholic teachers' union, told the Philadelphia Inquirer that custodians and maintenance workers might set up informational picket lines outside Catholic high schools.