Blogging Religiously

From a New York point of view

Will Catholic teachers strike when Benedict’s in town?

Posted by: Gary Stern - Posted in Federation of Catholic Teachers, Lay Faculty Association, Papal visit, Papal visit to New York, pope, Pope Benedict XVI, Uncategorized on Apr 02, 2008

When the union representing teachers at 10 Catholic high schools said a few months back that they might strike during the papal visit, I was skeptical.

Would teachers really want to strike when Benedict’s in town?

It sounded like a strategy to get the Archdiocese of New York to improve its contract offer before the pope arrives.

But now the papal visit is only weeks away and the Lay Faculty Association yesterday voted 132-20—that’s pretty one-sided—to authorize a strike.

Many teachers are bitter over what they perceive to be poor treatment and a lack of respect from the archdiocese. But the archdiocese says its contract offer is both fair and the best it can do.

If relations between the archdiocese and the LFA were bad before…

The LFA has been without a contract since Aug. 31. It’s important to note that this union represents about 430 teachers at 10 schools run by the archdiocese, including Archbishop Stepinac in White Plains, Maria Regina in Hartsdale and Kennedy Catholic in Somers.

The larger Catholic teachers union, the Federation of Catholic Teachers, which represents about 3,300 elementary school teachers, is also without a contract. But the federation, which is traditionally much less confrontational than the LFA, is not threatening a strike.

If the LFA does strike when Benedict is in town, will the pope even know? You have to figure he won’t spend much time watching the news. And his keepers probably won’t share the news of picketing teachers.

But Cardinal Egan will know. Things could get ugly.



4 Responses to “Will Catholic teachers strike when Benedict’s in town?”

  1. Donald Mooney

    I am a former religion teacher for 25 years at two different high schools in the Archdiocese. I am presently working for a Catholic High School in Queens. Our Salaries max out at twice as much as Spellman. I am still upset at the way the archdiocese treats its teachers. It enrages me to see how hypocritical the Church is on the social justice issue of a fair wage, and the virtue of justice. My prayers are with my fellow colleagues, to fight the good fight, and for the Archdiocese to practice what it preaches.

  2. priesthood of the laity

    I was an activist in the formation of the Catholic Lay Teacher’s Group under Barry Ryan in 1965. Then as now, it pains me to consider that the New York Archdiocesan powers that be promulgate support of social encyclicals that seek a “just wage” while fighting (even shamefully using the pulpit at times) social justice for teachers. This “do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do” attitude deserves close scrutiny of the press and all right thinking individuals. The elementary school teachers of the diocese maintain a sheep-like “get along by going along” approach. They are rewarded by even more shameful salaries. God bless the late Sister Catherine Marie OSU, a principal of Saint Philip Neri decades ago who loved and supported her lay faculty’s’ quest for fairness. If she were alive today in her late 80s she would be praying for the success of the lay teachers’ crying out for fair play.


    Why is there such a disparity to begin with, Don? I have observed this for many years, the Catholic private versus the Catholic Archdiocesan. I thought Catholic meant universal(?)!


    By the way, hello…

Leave a comment using your facebook account

or leave a comment below