MEDIA IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, June 3, 2015
Move to get rid of employment stability adds to unfair demands on teachers
Teachers for the San Francisco Archdiocese, represented by the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2240, face the growing prospect, for the first time since the union was formed in 1972, of entering the summer without a new contract. Unfair demands by the archbishop and the presidents of the four Archdiocese high schools have left union members in a state of uncertainty about their future in the local Catholic school system.
While the archbishop’s insistence on eliminating state and federal employee rights of faculty at the Riordan, Serra, Marin Catholic and Sacred Heart Cathedral high schools has been well-publicized, the presidents of the schools have also suddenly demanded the end of protections that make it possible for teachers to have stable jobs and make teaching a career. The archdiocese apparently believes teachers should become disposable, at-will employees, undercutting quality teaching and learning.
“We have worked for more than a year on establishing and following through on good-faith measures between the administrations of the four schools and ourselves,” said union president Lisa Dole. “It seems disingenuous and is unacceptable for the Archdiocese school presidents and principals to come in at the eleventh hour of a long and exceedingly challenging year of negotiations and drop another issue that just adds to our teachers’ fear and uncertainty regarding their job security.”
“Job security is one of the foundations of the union,” said union treasurer Michael Vezzali. “Negotiations this year have forced us to deal with the archbishop’s threat to our employee and civil rights, a modest raise at best, no foreseeable improvement on a weak pension plan, and an increase in employee health care premium costs. By attempting to wrest our right to stable employment from us the presidents appear to be making every attempt to make our schools as unattractive as possible for current and potential employees.”
Local 2240 has endured a 4-year wage freeze, and although it has been offered a 2.5 percent wage increase for 2015-16, most of that increase would be eaten up by spiraling health care costs.
Teachers can look forward to a long summer of difficult negotiations while facing terrible doubt about their careers and the direction of their schools. “We work so hard for our students and our schools,” said union representative Joe Hession. “I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect the Archdiocese and administration to value our efforts.”
AFT Local 2240 represents faculty in four high schools under San Francisco Archdiocesan jurisdiction, including Archbishop Riordan, Sacred Heart Preparatory, both in San Francisco; Marin Catholic in Kentfield; and Junipero Serra in San Mateo. CFT represents 120,000 educational employees at every level of the education system. More info: www.cft.org