May 5, 2015 – Catholic school teachers in the Archdiocese of New York will strike nine additional schools today, Tuesday, May 5, because of unfair labor practices by their employer, the Archdiocese of New York’s Association of Catholic Schools (ACS).
Catholic school teachers in the Archdiocese of New York have been working without a contract since last September. The teachers were offered a one percent (1%) wage increase but were later told that the Archdiocese would have to close up to 10 more schools per year if they accepted it. Timothy McNiff, superintendent of Catholic Schools, said more schools would close if the teachers received even a very small wage increase. He repeated the threat on Friday, in a letter to teachers and parents. In his letter, McNiff said his threat to close more schools "is not a threat; it is a reality."
"It is also a violation of labor law," says Julia Pignataro, President of the Federation of Catholic Teachers (FCT), the union that represents over 2,600 teachers in the Archdiocese of New York. "We are trying to have serious contract talks with the ACS and Tim McNiff responds by repeating the same threats and attempting the same coercion that caused us to file unfair labor practice charges in the first place. Making matters worse, he did this through direct dealing with our membership, which is also a violation of labor law."
McNiff's threats aren't working. The teachers remain determined to be treated fairly. The schools that will be struck today are: Transfiguration, 29 Mott Street, Manhattan; St. Philip Neri, 3031 Grand Concourse, The Bronx; Immaculate Conception, 378 E 151st St., The Bronx; St. Barnabas High School, 425 E 240th St., The Bronx; Sacred Heart, 59 Wilson Street, Hartsdale, NY; St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, 1375 E Main St., Shrub Oak, NY; St. Charles, 200 Penn Ave., Staten Island; Our Lady Help of Christians, 23 Summit St., Staten Island, and Sacred Heart, 301 North Burgher Ave., Staten Island.
"Our already low salaries have nothing to do with the closing of Catholic schools," said Pignataro. "We have conclusive proof that millions of dollars in revenue is being raised each year from rent for the closed school buildings. We were promised this revenue would be put back into the school system. That's why our members are asking, 'Where’s the money?'"
For further details, please contact the FCT at 718-370-0081 or 347-577-2520