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September 2, 2003

5:00 A.M.
from Catherine L. Rossi, Director of Communications

There has been substantive progress in contract talks since yesterday afternoon. At one 'clock Monday afternoon, the Archdiocese and the teachers union returned to the bargaining table in an attempt to reach a tentative contract agreement. We have spent the last sixteen hours in negotiations and remain at the bargaining table at this hour. Just before midnight, the Archdiocese presented the union with its final offer, not wanting to leave the table with anything less than our best effort. This negotiating process has been long, arduous and tedious. We believe we have offered a three year contract that provides our teachers with both a reasonable salary increase and reasonable options in medical benefits. The contract remains under idscussion at this hour.

The following summarizes key points of an offer from the Archdiocese late last night:

The Archdiocese has offered $800, $1100 and $1300 ( 2%, 2 Ĺ , 3%) respectively for each year of a three year contract. Starting teacher salaries would be $30,500 for the first year of the contract; $31,000 for the second year of the contract and $31,700 for the third year of the contract.

Medical Benefits
The archdiocese has agreed to a cap in medical insurance costs. Teacher contributions would be the same in the first year of the contract as teachers paid last year. In the second year of the contract, teachers would pay 8% of the cost of the individual plan plus 10% of the differential between the cost of the plan and the HMO plan. In the third year, teachers would pay 8% of the cost of the individual plan plus 20% of the differential between the cost of the plan and the HMO plan. Should the composite rate increase exceed 20% of the individual medical in the second and third year, the system will absorb any increase beyond that.

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 and is still discussing these issues with the union.

Editorís Note: The contract 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 and high school students are expected to report as scheduled.

Catherine L. Rossi
Director of Communications

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