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Catholic teachers union president unhappy about comment

01.29.10

January 2010 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Catholic teachers union president unhappy about comment

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, December 19th- Mike Milz, President of the Scranton Diocese Association of Catholic Teachers (SDACT), which once represented the teachers of the Scranton Diocese, told the newspaper he is disappointed with comments made by Cardinal Justin Rigali about the success of the Employee Relations Program that was implemented after the union was removed as the bargaining representative of the employees.

SDACT represented the teachers until August 2007 when the previous contracts expired and then Scranton Diocese Bishop Joseph Martino refused to negotiate for a new contract.

The union represented the teachers of seventeen of the fourty-two grade schools and nine of the ten high schools of the Scranton Diocese.

The new system eliminated the small school boards and created four regional boards. SDACT previously had contracts with each Board of Pastors that represented each school. Bishop Martino implemented a “Employee Relations Program,” after he told the union they no longer represented the employees.

Mr. Milz was a 33-year employee of the Scranton Diocese working as a science teacher and later a social studies teacher at Bishop Hoban High School in Wilkes-Barre, which is now called Holy Redemmer. Mr. Milz was laid-off by the Diocese of Scranton in 2008 and is now working for the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) Union in the Lehigh Valley.

Mr. Milz stated the Employee Relations Program is nothing but a “company union” and the SDACT would like to represent the employees again after the new Bishop is named in 2010.

A meeting was held between officials of the Scranton Diocese and SDACT in October about representing the employees again. Mr. Milz stated the meeting held between the parties lasted for a little less than a hour in which the union was told no resolve of the union situation can be obtained until a new Bishop of Scranton is named.

Mr. Milz stated SDACT still has authorization cards signed by the workers indicating they would like to be represented by the union again. The cards were signed by the workers after Bishop Martino agreed to allow the union to represent the workers if a majority of them wanted to be SDACT members. However, Mr. Milz stated Mr. Martino went back on his word and later refused to discuss the union situation.

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