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September 1, 2003


2:00 a.m.
Judge Clement J. McGovern
Chief Negotiator for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia

Judge McGovern is a retired Delaware County Court of Common Pleas judge

We are greatly disappointed to be drawing this session of contract talks to a conclusion without having reached an agreement with our teachers union. There was progress in our discussions but unfortunately, progress was minimal and we will be returning to the negotiating table.

Since this is Labor Day, let me say that we appreciate those who labor in our classrooms to give us a value-oriented school. Part of Labor Day is fairness. We want to see that there is fairness for all parties, the teachers and the Catholic education system. The teachers have a right to be paid. Along with that right is a responsibility to fairly share the burden of the system that they’re working in and helping to support. We are only looking for a fair and a just settlement.

This is the Archdiocesan position on several issues as discussions concluded :

The salary increase offer by the Archdiocese now stands at $475, $525, $550 respectively for each year of a three year contract. The union has asked for $2500 in a one year contract.

Length of Contract
For the stability of the Catholic education system, the Archdiocese is seeking a three-year contract. The last nine teachers contracts have been three-years pacts. The union is seeking a one-year contract.

Medical Benefits
The medical benefit situation is difficult. We do not want opened-ended medical premiums with 100 % of the burden placed on the teacher. We are simply asking teachers to fairly share the burden of a 70% increase in medical insurance in the last three years. The teachers are paying a very small part of the cost of their contract and we’re not looking to increase that substantially but we are looking to fairly increase it. The Archdiocese is offering lower contributions on less expensive plans.

Management Issues
The Archdiocese has made some proposals in the area of accountability that it feels are necessary to maintain the high standards of quality Catholic education and operate the school system in an efficient and consistent manner. While we do not yet have agreement with the union on these issues, there has been progress in some areas.

Editor’s Note: Negotiations are scheduled to resume on Monday, September 01, 2003 at 1:00 p.m. The current contract expired at midnight, August 31. The contract now under negotiation affects approximately 1000 high school lay teachers. In the five-county region, 23,000 high school students attend 22 archdiocesan high schools. The first day of school is Wednesday, September 3, 2003.

Catherine Rossi
Director of Communications

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