Leader Urges Archbishop to Allow Union for Teachers Teacher Says, `Even the Pope Negotiates with His Workers'

By Samuel Autman Of The Post-Dispatch | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), September 14, 1997 | Go to article overview

Leader Urges Archbishop to Allow Union for Teachers Teacher Says, `Even the Pope Negotiates with His Workers'


Samuel Autman Of The Post-Dispatch, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


If Archbishop Justin Rigali wants Catholic elementary teachers to stop picketing the St. Louis Cathedral, 4431 Lindell Boulevard, he must acknowledge the Association for Catholic Elementary Educators, president Robin Heimos said Saturday to 200 teachers.

Heimos, an elementary teacher at St. Francis of Assisi School in south St. Louis County, met with the teachers at the Carpenters' Hall, 1401 Hampton Avenue.

She heads the association, which has been fighting for recognition as a union from the St. Louis Archdiocese. "Even the Pope negotiates with his workers at the Vatican," Heimos said to a heavy applause. "If the pope can do it, certainly Archbishop Rigali can do it." The archdiocesan schools have more than 59,000 students and is the oldest and largest school system in Missouri. First-year parochial school teachers earn about $16,900; by comparison, first-year teachers in the St. Louis public schools start at $25,000. Since the spring, the Archbishop's Commission on Parish School Teacher Relations has been studying how 2,400 elementary teachers in the area's 158 Catholic schools can get higher pay and better benefits. Two association representatives are on that commission. The panel is expected to hand Rigali a report by Oct. 1. The association promised Saturday to increase pressure on the archdiocese if the report does not call for Rigali to recognize the association as a union and allow for more teacher input on salary negotiations. The archdiocese has maintained that parishes, not the archdiocese, employ the teachers. …

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