Tuesday, April 1, 2008

NY Catholic school teachers vote on whether to strike during Papal Visit

Catholic school teachers will vote Tuesday on the possibility of a strike the week Pope Benedict XVI visits New York, reports Lindsay Suchow Poughkeepsie Journal (March 31, 2008):

Teachers at 10 Archdiocesan high schools, including Our Lady of Lourdes in Poughkeepsie, may walk out of their classes before and during the pope’s April 18 to 20 visit.

“This, in no way, is a protest against the Holy Father, but rather it is designed to let the Catholic community know that we have a problem in New York — that being we have a cardinal who does not care about Catholic education,” Henry Kielkucki, business manager of the Lay Faculty Association, said in a prepared statement.

Joseph Zwilling, communications director for the Archdiocese of New York, said a strike would be pointless.

“It would be a terrible thing if they did (strike),” Zwilling said. “They’ll lose more money, they’ll disrupt the education of their students and not in any way advance their cause.”

According to the Times Herald Record, the teachers have been without a contract since September and an independent mediator failed to bridge the gap between them:
Association president John Fedor, a science teacher at Burke, says he expects his members to vote to walk out. . . .

Fedor says member won't do anything to actively interrupt the papal visit, but the strike's timing has a purpose.

"We are looking to embarrass the archdiocese," Fedor said. "They deserve to be embarrassed."


  • Teacher strike may embarrass archdiocese LoHud.com / Journal-News:
    union of Catholic school teachers decided last night to go on strike, a move that may continue during Pope Benedict XVI's New York visit to publicize its contract dispute with the Archdiocese of New York.

    "Oh, they'll vote to strike," said Henry Kielkucki, business manager of the Lay Faculty Association, which represents about 430 teachers at 10 high schools from Staten Island to Poughkeepsie. "It's unfortunate it's gone this far." Advertisement

    The vote came in at 132-20 in favor of striking.