Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Thank God for Union. (Letters)

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Thank God for Union. (Letters)

Article excerpt

* In response to comments made by our vicar general, Fr. Bob Maher, in your report on employees unionizing at four Texas parishes (NCR, July 19), Fr. Maher is not correct in stating that there was consultation with lay employees and that led the bishop to terminate our pension fund. We were not consulted. The bishop himself told a group of over 200 employees that there was no reason to look at the minutes of the pension board because he made the decision himself and the board rarely met. Fr. Maher also stated that no one was upset until we received letters showing how little had been accumulated in the fund in our names. On June 8, 2000, the bishop received a letter from all employees over the age of 50 asking him to change the rule to allow older employees to stay with the old fund or switch to the 403b. At every deanery meeting since then, the lay employees brought up complaints about the pension fund change to our dean and asked him to take those concerns and complaints to the presbyteral council.

Finally, at a deanery meeting on Sept. 26, 2001, there was a unanimous resolution passed to support the lay employees' forming an association to deal with the pension fund and job security issues, prompted by the firing of the employees at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, which at that time was five out of eight employees. The resolution led to a meeting of over 150 employees in our deanery on Oct. 23, 2001, with the chancellor, Msgr. Ivan Rovira. We still had not received letters indicating the status of our pension funds. …

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