Catholic school teachers walk, as Pope visits New York

From NY1 (4/14/08):
Catholic School Teachers Set To Strike
April 14, 2008

Staff and students at several Catholic schools around the city are preparing for teachers to walk off the job Tuesday morning after talks with the Archdiocese broke down Monday afternoon.

Both sides failed to reach a compromise on wages, health care and pensions before the pope's scheduled arrival in the United States Tuesday afternoon.

The Lay Faculty Association, which represents 450 teachers at ten schools, including five in the city, says members will go on strike, just days before Pope Bendict XVI arrives in New York City after a visit to Washington, D.C.

The archdiocese says the strike won't interfere with the pope's visit in any way.

"This is not going to have any impact on the pope's visit," said archdiocese spokesman Joseph Zwilling. "The only thing it might do is cost the teacher a couple of days pay, for going on strike, and also, I think, embarrass the teachers union themselves for doing this."

A union spokesperson says during the strike, some schools will be closed, while others will stay open, but will then release students at 10 a.m. The spokesperson says its up to individual schools to decide how they intend to proceed.

The union has rejected the deal offered by the Archdiocese of New York's Association of Catholic Schools. The archdiocese says it has made a generous offer to the union and that the terms will not be improved if the teachers go on strike.

The archdiocese was able to reach an agreement with another group of lay teachers that went on strike for two days earlier this month. It came to terms on a four-year deal Friday with the Federation of Catholic Teachers.

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