Lay teachers vote to strike, plan sick-out

Teachers at 10 Catholic High Schools through the Hudson Valley and New York City said last night that a recent contract proposal isn't good enough and they'll prepare for a strike.

Members of Lay Teachers Association voted 123-9 not to accept the latest offering from the Archdiocese of New York. Then they voted 121-12 to authorize union leaders to call a strike.

The union includes teachers at John S. Burke Catholic High School in Goshen and Our Lady of Lourdes in Poughkeepsie.

Henry Kielkucki, business manager for the union, said it hasn't set a date for the strike but the next few days will probably bring a "sick out" — a day when all teachers suddenly call in sick — to show the archdiocese they're serious.

Teachers went on a 17-day strike in 2001 and authorized another strike in 2004. That one was averted through renewed negotiations. Kielkucki said 1989 was the only year in the past two decades when contract negotiations didn't include a strike or some sort of school disruption. This year seems headed for the same path, he said


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