Dear Friends of Teach Acceptance
In a closely contested vote, unionized teachers at the four archdiocesan high schools voted to ratify the Tentative Agreement (TA) for a New Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA): 90 yes, 80 no. The new CBA is a three-year agreement. The vote was the culmination of a seven month public controversy sparked by Archbishop Cordileone’s attempt to reclassify all teachers as ministers, impose draconian morality clauses and insert language into the school handbooks that would harm our children.
The organized resistance from teachers, families and students, as well as the broader community, has had significant positive results:
- In both the current contract and proposed handbook language, the Archdiocese has backed off from its apparent campaign to label all teachers “ministers” and thus strip them of their civil rights and has deleted the most reprehensible language from the contract and handbook.
- Archbishop Cordileone is now on record with assurances that he is not interested in intruding into teachers’ personal lives, that this is not a “witch hunt,” and that he recognizes the tremendous professionalism and dedication of the archdiocesan teachers.
There are still concerns, apparent in the substantial no vote, that the new contract language, though an improvement over the original proposal, could still be used to bypass federal and state employment anti-discrimination laws that protect teachers from being discriminated against based on age, race, gender, disability, and/or sexual orientation. Some teachers fear the new language could have a chilling effect in the classroom and adversely impact teachers’ ability to engender trust and to participate in the open exchange of ideas with students as they explore and develop their own sexual identity, attitudes and beliefs in a safe environment. The Archbishop’s actions have already led some teachers and families to leave our communities while other families have reconsidered sending their children to our high schools.
We must remain vigilant. As we move forward, we will hold the Archbishop to his assurances that there will be no “witch hunt” and insist the contract be construed in the positive manner in which it was presented to the membership for a vote, including protection of teachers’ privacy and employment rights. A strong coalition parents, students, alumnae, administrators, Catholics, legislators, labor and the broader community has stood with our teachers. We have put the Archbishop on notice that we are committed to preserve inclusive, welcoming, loving schools dedicated to the pursuit of truth, the highest standards of excellence in teaching and the safety of our children.
Thank you for raising your voices, for standing with the teachers and for your abiding support!