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September 15, 2003


Judge Clement J. McGovern
Chief Negotiator for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia

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

On behalf of the negotiating team for the Archdiocese, we are gratified that our high school teachers have ratified a new contract and will return to their classrooms and back to the business of education. We know that this has not been an easy couple of weeks for teachers, for students or for their parents. We worked long and hard to put together a fair and reasonable package for teachers, in light of current economic and enrollment trends. Before I proceed with discussing the contract specifics, let me once again state the respect that the Archdiocese has for the work of its teachers. They are one of the Church's most valuable assets.

I have said all along that there is no pot of gold but we did as much as we could for our teachers. The new contract calls for across-the-board salary increases of $1000 the first year, $1300 in the second year and $1500 in the third year. These increases represent a cumulative raise of approximately 9. 1% over the three years of the contract. These increases are slightly higher (one tenth of one percent more) than those rejected by the Association's Executive Board on Monday, September 8, 2003. The average increases in that offer were $968, $1286, and $1488 or 9.0% over the three years of the contract. The new contract increases are $100 a year higher than the general membership rejected when it did not ratify the original contract offer on September 2, 2003.

We understood teachers' concerns on medical issues, but we needed to make some significant changes in the medical plans to help reduce the escalating cost of providing this benefit. The amount that teachers contribute toward the cost of their medical insurance will change from a flat dollar amount to a percentage amount that will automatically increase as the cost of insurance coverage increases. The percentage that teachers contribute for each of the different medical plans will increase each year. However, teachers will have the option of lower contributions if they move to a less expensive plan, for example, if they move from Personal Choice to either Keystone Point of Service or H-M-O.

Under the Personal Choice medical plan, the cost of doctor's office visits will increase but the Archdiocese arranged with Blue Cross to eliminate the $150 outpatient surgery and inpatient hospital deductibles that were of great concern to the teachers. There will be increases in prescription costs that encourage teachers to work with their doctors to select less expensive, yet equally beneficial drugs.

During the entire process of negotiation, we have been cognizant of tuition. I want to give parents the assurance that the Office for Catholic Education will make every effort to keep the tuition increase for next school year manageable.

All of us certainly wish that we could have reached an agreement earlier and averted a strike but we are grateful that the academic year will not be interrupted any further. We wish teachers, students and especially this year's high school seniors and their families, a successful 2003-2004 school year.


Catherine L. Rossi
Director of Communications

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