Teachers in Philadelphia-area Catholic high schools and the parents of students are glad that things are back to normal following the end of a 13-day walkout by members of the Association of Catholic School Teachers. On Monday, ACT members voted overwhelmingly to accept a tentative three-year agreement worked out by union negotiators and representatives of the Philadelphia Archdiocese.
This dispute wasn’t as much about money as it was about job security, and what could happen to veteran teachers if their school happened to close.
Normally, this isn’t a worry in public education where rarely is a high school shut down. But it’s different in Catholic education. Officials in dioceses all over the country have struggled with the twin challenges of rising costs and declining enrollments. And as tuition costs have risen, many parents have found it difficult to make the financial sacrifice necessary to send their kids to Catholic school. When a school’s enrollment declines far enough, the diocese has no choice but to close that school, putting jobs in jeopardy.
It was good to see; however, that in the new contract, the union won a promise that teachers with seniority would be reassigned should their school be closed. And in addition to modest pay increases and a freeze on health care contributions, the diocese promised that full-time teachers would not be displaced by part-timers.
Many of Dale Carnegie’s Success Principles can be applied to the course of negotiations between the ACT and the teachers, but perhaps none more so than the belief the ACT showed in the task the teachers are assigned to do, and the fine reputation thet gave them to live up to. Here’s an example of this Principle in action from your friends at Dale Carnegie Training of Philadelphia and Allentown:
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Photo credit: nuttakit