September 4, 2020

Office of Catholic Education Provides Update to High School Families Regarding Teacher Contract Negotiations

Today, all school families in the 17 Archdiocesan high schools located throughout the five-county region received a letter regarding teacher contract negotiations from Sister Maureen Lawrence McDermott, I.H.M. Ph.D., Superintendent for Secondary Schools for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

The full text of that letter is below.

Dear Archdiocesan High School Families:

 As we eagerly anticipate the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year, we write to share an update about labor management negotiations with our secondary school teachers.

 In July of 2020, representatives from the Office of Catholic Education opened formal negotiations with the teachers’ union, the Association of Catholic Teachers (ACT 1776). Both sides met throughout July and August as well as these first days of September to discuss proposals and issues. During the negotiations, the focus remained on providing the best possible educational environment for the students entrusted to our care while respecting the sacrifice and dedication of the educators who are critical to our system. Negotiations are expected to go through the Labor Day weekend and both sides are working to arrive at a settlement on which teachers can vote on September 8, 2020. 

Entering negotiations, we understood that there were unique issues surrounding the operations of our Secondary schools during the pandemic. The issues at stake go beyond traditional items such as salary and benefits and are essential to the ability of our schools to continue their tradition of excellence far into the future. Our proposals seek to ensure that our students continue to thrive by providing a means to respond efficiently and effectively to the rapid pace of change that is a natural part of the 21st century educational landscape while responding to the unique circumstances of a pandemic.

As noted earlier, the teachers are scheduled to review and vote on a new labor management agreement on September 8, 2020. In the event of a work stoppage, we intend to open school on time. The first week of school, as currently planned, should not be affected. We are in constant communication with our local school leadership on issues of academic programs, busing, and co-curricular activities.

You and your families are in our prayers as we begin a new academic year. May God bless you for your continued dedication and support of Catholic Education.


Sister Maureen Lawrence McDermott, I.H.M., Ph.D.
Superintendent of Secondary Schools
Archdiocese of Philadelphia

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Editor’s Note: The contract negotiations pertain only to the 17 Archdiocesan high schools. There are approximately 500 full-time lay teachers who are members of ACT 1776.

Parish and regional Catholic elementary schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia are not affected by this process.

For more information on Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia please visit


Contact: Kenneth A. Gavin
Chief Communications Officer
215-587-3747 (office)