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August 25, 2003

Catherine L. Rossi
Director of Communications, Archdiocese of Philadelphia

We are less than ten days away from the expiration of our high school teacher's contract. The Archdiocese has been bargaining in good faith with the hope of reaching a contract agreement before the start of the school year. The Archdiocese understands and appreciates that teachers, students and parents want to see this school year get off to a smooth start.

The union has told reporters that it is seeking an across-the-board 12% salary increase for one year. That demand is both unacceptable and unreasonable in the economic climate of today. Consistent with past practices, the Archdiocese is negotiating a three-year, not a one-year, contract. While the Archdiocese has made its initial proposal on wages and benefits to the union, it awaits a counterproposal from the union.

The National Association of Catholic Schools Teachers ranks the starting salary of high school teachers of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia as the second highest in the country. The Archdiocese will continue to do the best it can for its teachers considering current economic and enrollment conditions. The Archdiocese must balance fair wages and benefits for its teachers, who are respected and admired, while trying to hold the line on the cost of tuition for parents who remain concerned about the rising cost of education.

The next negotiating session is now scheduled for Monday, August 25, 2003. Resolution of the contract is a priority and the Archdiocese is ready and willing to talk day and night if necessary in order to resolve this contract for the good of our teachers, students and their families.


Editor's Note:
The starting salary for an archdiocesan high school lay teacher for the 2002-2003 school year: $30,300. This current teachers contract, expiring August 31, 2003, affects approximately 1000 high school lay teachers. 23,000 high school students attend 22 archdiocesan high schools in the five-county region. The first day of school is Wednesday, September 3, 2003.

Catherine L. Rossi
Director of Communications

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