Archdiocese, teachers’ union reach tentative agreement in contract talks

TEACHERS REPRESENTED by the St. Louis Archdiocesan Teachers Association (SLATA), parents and students held a prayer rally March 27 at the Cathedral Basilica calling on the Archdiocese to stop union-busting and resume negotiations with the teachers’ association. SLATA and the Archdiocese have since reached a tentative contract. – Labor Tribune photo

By SHERI GASSAWAY

Correspondent

The St. Louis Archdiocesan Teachers Association (SLATA) reached a tentative agreement on a new contract last week with the St. Louis Archdiocese. A date for a ratification vote is expected to be scheduled soon.

Last month, the Archdiocese attempted to destroy its high school teachers’ union by trying to force its own so-called “contract” on educators and threatening their jobs if they didn’t sign them – an effort that is totally in conflict with the church’s position in support of unions.

SLATA represents about 120 educators at Cardinal Ritter College Preparatory, Bishop DuBourg, Rosati-Kain, St. Mary’s and St. Pius X high schools. Negotiations on a new three-year contract began in October. The teacher’s current contract expired March 4.

About 90 percent of teachers rejected the Archdiocese’s last contract offer, which did not include a procedure for placing educators in the event of a school closure or consolidation, proposed meager raises to less experienced teachers and pay cuts to the most experienced teachers with master’s degrees, eliminated seniority within the system, eliminated a functional grievance process, and cut off early retirement incentives.

After teachers rejected the contract, the Archdiocese hand-delivered individualized contracts to teachers, which were different from the last contract they voted on. The new contracts instituted a new Archdiocese organization to replace SLATA, completely ignoring the existence of the organization.

OUTPOURING OF SUPPORT
However, thanks to an outpouring of support from students, parents and the Labor community, the Archdiocese agreed to two additional meetings with SLATA in hopes of moving closer to a more fair and equitable contract agreement.

The support SLATA has received included a resolution approved by the St. Louis Labor Council demanding the Archdiocese go back to the bargaining table, a March 27 prayer rally and mass and a March 28 “sick out” at three of the high schools, which prompted students to hold their own rally in front of the Cathedral Basilica.

FOR UPDATES
To receive updates on the negotiations, sign up at bit.ly/SLATA.


 

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