Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Unionized Parish Workers Fired in Texas

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Unionized Parish Workers Fired in Texas

Article excerpt

The June 18 firing of four parish workers who belong to what is thought to be one of the first unionized parish staffs in the U.S. Catholic Church sparked massive protests by parishioners in McAllen, Texas and caught the attention of labor activists throughout the nation. Father Ruben Delgado, who fired the four women--one of whom is pregnant--in his first day as pastor at Holy Spirit Parish, resigned the following week.

Bishop Raymundo Pena of the Diocese of Brownsville announced Delgado's resignation at a press conference, saying he was granting him a period of extended rest. Delgado had not been seen at the parish since his first day. Pena said Delgado will be assigned a different position within the diocese.

A local paper reported that Holy Spirit parishioners and several priests speculated that Delgado fired the union workers under the bishop's orders. Father Jerry Frank, who served at Holy Spirit from 1993 until mid-June, has publicly accused the bishop of lying and forcing Delgado to do his "dirty work for him" by firing the workers. Frank and other priests in the diocese have called for the bishop to resign.

When asked for reaction to calls for his resignation, Pena said he had nothing to do with the issue. …

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