Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pay Up!

Did everyone see this? More school and church closings to pay this ONE MILLION DOLLARS?

Everyone take notice of who the attorney for the plaintiffs is. Like all good unions, be sure to keep it in the family. Right, Mike Milz?

WILKES-BARRE – A Luzerne County judge on Monday issued five orders directing that money awarded in arbitration hearings be paid to teachers who were terminated when local Catholic schools were consolidated.

Luzerne County Senior Judge Chester Muroski said in the orders that teachers of Bishop O’Reilly, St. Vincent’s School, Bishop O’Reilly Junior High School, Bishop Hafey and Bishop Hoban, will receive money owed to them in a lawsuit.

A hearing, in response to court papers filed by education associations of each respective school to confirm the awards, was held Monday inside Muroski’s chambers for attorneys to argue why the arbitration awards should or should not be distributed. Muroski ruled that each of the schools’ board of pastors is directed to “promptly comply (with) the terms of the award forthwith.”

Attorney Martin Milz represented plaintiffs. The diocese was represented by attorney Richard Goldberg.

A timeline on the actual dispensing of money was unknown Monday.

According to court papers, teachers who were employed at Bishop Hoban High School are owed over $700,000.

It is estimated the total amount for arbitration awards will exceed $1 million.

The arbitration awards stem from complaints filed by the Scranton Diocese Association of Catholic Teachers, which had represented some teachers until 2006, when then-Bishop Joseph Martino restructured the entire Catholic school system, eliminating local school boards and parish councils the union had dealt with.

The union asked to represent teachers under the new system of four regional school boards, but was rejected.

The diocese opted to start an “Employee Relations Program” it repeatedly insists gives all school employees fair representation.

The union argued the contracts teachers had before restructuring guaranteed that teachers who lost their jobs during the restructuring were eligible for accumulated sick leave and severance pay. The union filed grievances and says that, since May 2008, separate arbitration hearings were held for the teachers.

Several arbitrators ruled in favor of the teachers in October 2008 and ordered the diocese to immediately start paying the teachers, but the diocese had not done so, prompting a hearing Monday, where attorneys argued the matter of payment.

The diocese had previously said it intended to honor the awards but was not sure where the money will come from. Financial struggles were a key reason given when the school restructuring was done, closing many area buildings.


Anonymous said...

Sorry Traddy, I'm with Milz et al on this one. Too many underhanded things done with these teachers. So what if the lawyer has the same last name?? My husband is a lawyer, and if I needed legal representation, why would I go somewhere else? The diocese and martino treated the teachers like animals with the school closings. It's about time someone told them they can't play with the lives of people.

Doug said...

The teachers are merely asking that their contracts be honored; these contracts stated that should the contract be terminated, the teachers would be owed pay from unused sick days. The diocese would not negotiate, so the teachers sought full compensation.

I agree with Kathy - the teachers were treated extremely roughly by the consolidation process, and have worked under difficult conditions ever since. Many of them have worked for over thirty years making far less money than they could in the public school system, and teaching twice as well, and they deserve this money that they're legally due.


The Rockin' Traddy said...

No one is contesting the legality of the award. One million dollars or more is alot to come up with and it has to come from somewhere. Insurance maybe, but my guess is that the parishes and parishioners are going to get walloped.

And one more thing, please don't come here singing the blues about the lowly underpaid teachers. If they don't like their salaries, they can go somewhere else and teach.

Anonymous said...

Traddy, sorry but you miss the point. Yes they are underpaid. They knew that when taking a position in a catholic school. But they believed that they could do more good by teaching catholic values, than by making bigger salaries in public school. You are a father of young children. You have nothing to compare when it comes to public versus catholic. My 2 youngest went all through catholic school. These teachers were dedicated, and gave so much of their own time; they never asked for extra compensation. You will NOT find this in a public school. Been there; done that!!