The Lay Faculty Association, a teacher’s union representing over 450 lay educators in New York City Catholic schools, is threatening to strike when Pope Benedict XVI visits the city for the first time next week as pope, according to the Daily News. Union leaders have been negotiating for new contracts and have protested their comparatively low pay, which, coupled with rising costs of living, falls well below the average for public school teachers in the city. They’re hoping that the threat of a strike at a time when the Catholic Church is in the national spotlight can bring the Archdiocese of New York back to the bargaining table.
So far, however, the archdiocese has had a different response. "I believe that if the union does take the visit of Pope Benedict as a time for protest, as a time for division, then that would be an insult to the Holy Father and all of the people of God of this archdiocese,” said Joseph Zwilling, a spokesman for the archdiocese quoted by the Daily News.
The Federation of Catholic Teachers, a larger union representing 3,300 teachers in the region, has suspended their own strike Monday following “good faith” negotiations over the weekend, according to a report by The New York Times.
The archdiocese has requested a meeting with the LFA on April 10, just days before the Pope is schedule to visit on April 15.