Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Diocese remains firm in opposition to teacher union

In a strongly worded statement issued over the weekend, the Diocese of Scranton contends passage of pending state legislation would mean an end to Catholic schools.

The statement comes as several teachers demonstrated in support of House Bill 26 and of the right to organize.

“Make no mistake about it, if HB 26 passes, it will mean the end of Catholic schools in the Diocese of Scranton, costing local communities $73,880,400 each year to educate these students”, said the unsigned statement, posted on the Diocese website.

The statement adds: “Fair and just employment and the rights of workers to organize are principles that have long been recognized and supported by the Catholic Church.”

But, in the same paragraph, it is noted the Diocese opposes HB 26 “… not because the Church opposes unions, but because the government has no place in interposing itself as arbiter within religious ministries.”

But, Scranton Diocese Association of Catholic Teachers contends the position taken by the Diocese and by Bishop Joseph Martino goes sharply against its own tradition.

“We are here to mourn the loss of our rights, for it was exactly one year ago today that the person who lives in the house directly behind us, Bishop Joseph Martino, decided that the more than one hundred years of Catholic teaching in support of the right to organize was nothing more than words on paper. He announced that after 30 years of successful collaboration between our teachers’ association and the Diocese’s Catholic schools he would no longer recognize our teachers’ right to be represented by a union of their own choosing”, says a statement, attributed to SDACT President Mike Milz, and posted in a blog on the SDACT website.

The Diocese operates 28 schools in its 11-county region, including in Monroe and Wayne. This past week, it was announced that St. Vincent’s, the only Catholic school remaining in Wayne County, will close because of declining enrolment.

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Sotto Voce

(Source: RCN)