The Philadelphia Archdiocese’s 17 city and suburban high schools are open today but teachers are on strike. Mary Rochford, the Superintendent for the Office of Catholic Education, says the church has a game plan similar to the protocol it followed during a 2003 strike.”Administrators and non-teaching staff assisted in the supervision of the students so that the activities and the orientation program could take place over those first three days,” said Rochford. “It’s after the three days we have to make some determinations cause we don’t know yet–some teachers could cross the picket lines and come in to teach.”Union President Rita Schwartz says teachers worry about job security.
“Teachers are fearful for their jobs,” said Schwartz. “There’s a commission studying the future of the schools right now and we have no idea how many schools might be on the chopping block and our teachers would be on the chopping block as well.”
The contract affects more than 700 lay teachers and in turn, more than 16,000 students at the high schools. It does not involve elementary schools in the five-county archdiocese.