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Dear faculty and staff,

The union appreciates the letter from the presidents and the archdiocesan negotiating committee
(ANC) to the faculty and staff outlining where negotiations currently stand. For the most part the
information provided is correct, so the letter serves as a useful summary of the current situation.
Unfortunately, the accompanying commentary unfairly casts the union’s stance in a negative light.
The union executive council has prepared this response to convey our view of the negotiations.

ANC’s Salary Proposals Are Not Competitive


The union’s fundamental concern about the archdiocesan wage proposal is the failure of vision it
represents on the part of the archdiocese. Many of our teachers, especially the newer ones, are
struggling to make ends meet in this most expensive region in the world. If the archdiocesan
schools continue to play hardball with teachers’ salaries, how attractive will these jobs be moving
into the future? Already foreboding signs have surfaced: at the recent archdiocesan job fair, the
lowest number of applicants in memory expressed interest in teaching at an archdiocesan school.
The union regards this development as a fair predictor of the archdiocesan school’s future difficulty
attracting qualified candidates.

Incomplete Accounting: The ANC Forgets Recent History and Cost of Living
Most prominent among the archdiocesan proposals regarded as unfair by the union is its wage
proposal. While the ANC insists that 3-3-3 is a reasonable offer, they neglect to mention that our
raises over the preceding seven years have been 0-0-0-0 and 2.5-2.0-3. While they boast that
coupled with average step increases their proposal represents a 15% average increase, they fail to
mention that local Consumer Price Index increases have recently exceeded 3% annually and are
forecast to continue upward at a comparable rate. In addition, the many teachers who do not
receive step increases yearly based upon their current placement on the salary array will effectively
see a pay cut. Moreover, these calculations do not take into account a 10.8% CPI increase during the
four years of 0%.

Bonuses
The ANC also trumpets its proposal to add to their wage proposal a $750 bonus payment payable
on June 30, 2018 and a $500 bonus payment payable on September 15, 2019. They do admit that
these payments are off the array, meaning that they constitute one-time bonuses that will have no
effect on future wages. The ANC also fails to mention that ​these bonuses will happen only if the
union ratifies the archdiocesan proposal by June 1.

The Archdiocese Refuses to Problem-Solve, Limiting Salaries and Dividing Personnel


The union has called on the ANC to face imminent hiring challenges by opening their minds to new
possibilities. Even as archdiocesan teachers are compelled to devise creative solutions to the
problems that surface in their classrooms every day, so too it is time for the archdiocesan
administrators creatively to solve the problem of undercompensating all their employees.
Ironically, the ANC insists that archdiocesan schools are bound by tuition revenues alone, when the
bonuses that they dangle before us would be covered by the archdiocese in Riordan’s case. Indeed,
rather than blame Riordan year after year for its relatively lower income thanks to its service to the
most challenged population of the four schools, the archdiocese needs to step up and show its
support for this school that arguably represents the best in Catholic education. Another possible
solution is for the archdiocese to lift its inexplicable ban on individual schools raising endowments
to cover teacher salaries. The union also rejects the argument that “wage increases two or three
years from now should be relatively modest, because we cannot predict whether the economy will
experience a downturn.” If the wage increases are nonexistent during the Great Recession and only
“modest” during our current boom times, when if ever will the archdiocese catch up its employees
with the current economy? This seems especially out of place when preliminary registration at all
four schools met or surpassed projections.

The ANC Attacks Tenure Despite Our Willingness to Work With Them
Beyond finances, the archdiocese soft-pedals its latest challenge to tenure, one of the union’s
foundational principles. While the ANC has backed off its most drastic efforts to get rid of tenure
altogether, it continues to chip away at tenure by reviving its attempt from three years ago to
eliminate tenure across the system based on its specious argument that the four schools are so
different that an employee at one school would not be equally qualified at another. Another sad
irony of the endless dispute over tenure is that the ANC has so far been unwilling or incapable of
indicating a single example supporting their argument that the current tenure system has any
negative effect at any school. Despite this hole in the ANC’s argument, the union has agreed to the
principle of a joint committee to reexamine tenure and teacher evaluation during the 2018-19
school year.

The ANC touts agreeing to their own proposals and some fair adjustments.
The archdiocese begins by inaccurately assigning all blame in the current standoff to the union: “To
date we have tentatively agreed to eight of the Union’s proposals (below) while the Union has yet to
agree to any Administration proposals, including our last wage offer.” Actually, one of the proposals
listed by the archdiocese—the new Kaiser high deductible plan—came from the archdiocesan side.
And the proposal applying the GWI to the payment of supplemental salaries is simply past practice.
As a reader can tell from scanning the other six union proposals, each involves a matter of simple
fairness that the archdiocese could not have reasonably rejected, and we do thank the archdiocese
for doing the right thing in those cases. The archdiocese’s proposals summarized throughout the
remainder of the letter, on the other hand, represent not only an unsympathetic and unrealistic
response to the financial challenges faced by archdiocesan employees but also cumulatively an
assault on workers’ rights and the union itself.

The ANC Has Unilaterally Ended Negotiations


Finally, and most galling of all, the ANC has unilaterally declared negotiations over as of its last
proposal, despite the continuing wide gulf that exists between ANC and union regarding not only
the amount and nature of a general wage increase and ​the threat to tenure across the system but
also the ANC health care proposal’s neglect of employees with families, its divisive plan to entice
STEM teachers with bonuses outside the contract, its denial of commonly accepted union rights and
its unwillingness to restore the pension plan to the pre-recession rate.

By providing the union viewpoint, this letter attempts to shed full light on the current state of
negotiations. While the ANC has matched the union executive council in civility on the surface, its
current proposal calls into question the degree to which the archdiocese and the administrations of
the four schools understand or even care about the well-being of their employees. The union
intends to continue this negotiation with dignity and respect for all parties, but it will not cease
until it has gained what it deserves. Thank you.

Sincerely,
the Union Executive Board