Teaching Profession

Phila. Strike Reaches End; Others Go On

By Mary Ann Zehr — September 24, 2003 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

After a 10-day strike, more than 1,000 teachers at Roman Catholic high schools in Philadelphia returned to the classroom after accepting a new three-year contract last week from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Some 23,000 students enrolled in Catholic high schools there missed six days of classes because of the strike and will have to make the time up later in the school year.

“Grudgingly, we accepted the contract because the diocese was not willing to move,” said Irene Tori, the executive secretary of the Association of Catholic Teachers Local 1776, the union that represents the teachers. Teachers approved the new contract on Sept. 15 by a vote of 486- 434.

“I have said all along that there is no pot of gold, but we did as much as we could for our teachers,” Clement J. McGovern, the chief negotiator for the archdiocese, said in a statement.

The new contract provides a cumulative salary increase of 9.1 percent over three years, slightly more than the increase contained in a previous contract proposal that was rejected by the teachers. Ms. Tori said that teachers would have liked to see a greater increase in salary.

The starting salary for any high school teacher with only a bachelor’s degree working for the archdiocese is $30,500.

Ms. Tori noted that tuition increased by $180 per high school student this school year, to $3,700, which will raise an estimated $4 million in additional funding for the archdiocese. But she said that only about $1.25 million of that total would be channeled toward teachers as a result of changes in the contract.

“The parents have to begin to question where their money is going,” she said.

Catherine L. Rossi, the director of communications for the archdiocese, said that the schools haven’t brought in as much money with the tuition increase as the union estimates, and she noted that schools can’t collect full tuition from some students. She declined, however, to provide a precise figure for the increase in funding and would not say how much the changes in the teachers’ contract would cost the archdiocese.

But Ms. Rossi added that the rise in tuition is needed, in part, to pay for an increase of $3 million in the cost of medical insurance for teachers over the past few years, most of which was absorbed by the archdiocese, as well as an increase in some other operating costs.

Public School Strikes

In other strike news, teachers in two Washington state districts, the 11,000-student Marysville district and the nearby 7,000-student Lake Stevens district, both north of Seattle, continued their walkouts last week. Pay was an issue in both places.

A strike of Benton, Ill., teachers that began Aug. 26 had not been settled as of late last week, leaving some 680 students on an extended summer vacation.

Teachers in the 2,900-student Somerset, Pa., school district, southeast of Pittsburgh, have been off the job since Sept. 8, and under Pennsylvania law could continue their protest until Oct. 7. The teachers, who are striking for the third time since their last contract expired in 2000, want better pay and health-insurance protections.

“We’ve been warning that [health insurance] is a huge issue,” said Kathleen Lyons, a spokeswoman for the National Education Association, the parent of the striking unions. “It’s getting ready to explode.”

Among American Federation of Teachers affiliates, the Chicago Teachers Union and the Chicago school board remained locked in negotiations. Teachers started the year without a contract.

Assistant Editor Bess Keller contributed to this report.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Data Webinar
Working Smarter, Not Harder with Data
There is a new paradigm shift in K-12 education. Technology and data have leapt forward, advancing in ways that allow educators to better support students while also maximizing their most precious resource – time. The
Content provided by PowerSchool
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Deepen the Reach and Impact of Your Leadership
This webinar offers new and veteran leaders a unique opportunity to listen and interact with four of the most influential educational thinkers in North America. With their expert insights, you will learn the key elements
Content provided by Solution Tree
Science K-12 Essentials Forum Teaching Science Today: Challenges and Solutions
Join this event which will tackle handling controversy in the classroom, and making science education relevant for all students.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Teaching Profession Explainer: Why Are Chicago Schools, Teachers' Union Fighting?
The issue that caused the most chaos in the roughly 350,000-student district was when and how to revert to remote learning.
3 min read
Members of the Chicago Teachers Union and supporters stage a car caravan protest outside City Hall in the Loop, Wednesday evening, Jan. 5, 2022. Chicago school leaders canceled classes in the nation’s third-largest school district for the second straight day after failing to reach an agreement with the teachers union over remote learning and other COVID-19 safety protocols. (Ashlee Rezin /Chicago Sun-Times via AP)
Teaching Profession Some Teachers Are Running Out of Sick Days, and Administrators Are Hesitant to Help
With a shortage of substitutes and pressure to stay open, administrators are reluctant to extend paid time off for teachers with COVID.
13 min read
Professional male social distancing or self quarantining inside a coronavirus pathogen.
iStock/Getty Images Plus
Teaching Profession Opinion 18 Ways to Improve Teacher Observations
Holding pre- and post-conferences, showing more compassion and less judgment, and organizing peer observations are valuable.
19 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty
Teaching Profession For Anxious Teachers, Omicron 'Feels Like Walking Into a Trap'
As COVID cases rise sharply, educators brace for another semester of staffing shortages, student absences, and potentially getting sick.
9 min read
Kindergarten teacher Mrs. Amber Updegrove interacts with her students, while she and the students are wearing masks to protect against COVID-19 at Warner Arts Magnet Elementary in Nashville, Tenn, on Friday, Aug. 20, 2021.
Kindergarten teacher Amber Updegrove interacts with her students at Warner Arts Magnet Elementary in Nashville, Tenn., in August.
John Partipilo/AP