“Is There a Future for Catholic School Unions in the United States?” by Bob Baker

Forward Catholic school teachers work far more hours than their public school counterparts and are not usually recompensed. Their base pay is generally around 80% of their counterparts and can be much lower and their benefits are almost always less and sometimes they don’t exist at all. Through the years of being a Catholic school teacher, I have seen, heard and experienced how dedicated Catholic school teachers most are, but I’ve also witnessed the machinations of some that are inimical to the true concept of Catholic education. I have seen those in authority wield their power to justify their own positions and deliberately belittle and even oust those who are not in agreement with them from not only their jobs but from teaching, as well. Our profession has lost and is losing many teachers due to the heavy-handedness that is allowed to exist in many (arch-) dioceses. The problem is that there is no real recourse; the deck is stacked against the individual teacher by the principal, pastor (for grades K-8) and/or the diocesan education office. Unions. This one word evokes an ethereal, almost universal, reaction that most in American society associate with it. Ironically, most of the bishops and their diocesan offices also find the word repugnant – but most either don’t know or have conveniently forgotten that every pope since Leo XIII has stated or written of the right of employees to have unions, without excepting Catholic organizations (including diocesan workers)! The Church makes great noise about social justice issues, but seems all too reticent to bring attention to itself in this area. It is one thing to put forth the notion that it’s a calling, vocation or ministry, but quite another when you ask others to live from paycheck to paycheck and suffer through a hierarchal system that is immune to change. full commentary »