The Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Office of Catholic Education (OCE) is deeply disappointed by the decision of the Association of Catholic Teachers, Local 1776 (ACT) not to ratify the proposed contract today. We are heartened that teachers will return to the classroom while talks continue and that the school year will begin on schedule. OCE remains committed to staying at the table with ACT leadership to resolve this matter as quickly as possible.
Representatives from OCE opened negotiations in July 2020 with a focus on providing the best possible educational environment for the young people entrusted to their care while respecting the sacrifice and dedication of the educators in its system.
Last evening in response to concerns and input from ACT, the System offered a best and final package which included a two-year contract, with a $1,200 salary increase per teacher each year, as well as no increase in medical costs or changes in benefit plans. That proposed salary increase comes at a time when the vast majority of Archdiocesan employees will not be receiving even a standard cost of living adjustment raise.
The System has been informed that the main point of contention concerns our need to have flexibility in the unlikely event that there is a need to reduce the size of the faculty due to the potential for an adverse pandemic related impact on enrollment.
From the beginning round, these negotiations have involved unique issues about the operation of our secondary Catholic schools during the pandemic. The issues at stake go beyond traditional items such as salary and benefits and are critical to the ability of our schools to continue their tradition of excellence into the future.
Education in the 21st century and during a pandemic is changing at such a rapid pace that it is essential to have the ability to respond efficiently and effectively to the world around us so that our students thrive.
Each of the 17 Archdiocesan high schools will adhere to schedules planned for this week. Leadership from OCE shared this information with all school families.
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Editor’s Note: The contract negotiations pertain only to the 17 Archdiocesan high schools. There are approximately 10,400 students enrolled in these schools and approximately 500 full-time lay teachers who are members of ACT 1776.
Parish and regional Catholic elementary schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia are not affected by this process.
For more information on Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia please visit www.aopcatholicschools.org/.