Reformation in Catholic talks

Archdiocese of Philadelphia high schools will open their doors to students today, but classes could be in jeopardy next week after more than 700 teachers went on strike yesterday.

Members of the Association of Catholic Teachers Local 1776 hit the picket line yesterday, authorizing a strike after talks broke down early in the morning following a long weekend of negotiating.

The two sides could meet again tomorrow, but remain unresolved on most of the key issues — including the hiring of part-time teachers, teacher placement and the use of technology in the classroom.

Archdiocese officials said the strike will not affect operations at its 17 high schools this week —made up of orientation and group instruction — but classroom instruction for its 16,500 students could be disrupted next week.

“We would have to assess that as each day goes on,” said Secretary for Catholic Education Richard McCarron. “Every day we will monitor this and we will make a decision whether this is impossible going forward.”

McCarron noted that any instructional days missed will have to be made up.

For the second time in the last week, the union has asked for a mediator, while the Archdiocese continues to oppose any outside involvement.

“The Association just feels that we need somebody else to come in and work this out,” said ACT vice president Irene Tori. “There’s way too much on the table.”

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