South Jersey Catholic School Teachers Plan to Strike

An inability to reach an agreement with the Camden diocese means teachers at three South Jersey Catholic high schools likely will be on strike Monday.

Teachers at Camden Catholic, Paul VI and Holy Spirit high schools plan to picket Monday, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

"We thought it best that we just do it and do it now," Bill Blumenstein, president of the Catholic Teachers Union, said yesterday. "Options were to wait a week, but ultimately we believe the diocese is unwilling to sit down and negotiate a contract."

The diocese planned to open the schools with temporary teachers Monday.

Pay and health benefits at four of the diocese's seven high schools -- the three affected by the strike and Sacred Heart. The diocese is offering a 5.2 percent pay increase over two years and contributions to the health care plan from new hires. The union wants a 9 percent pay increase and no teacher contributions to the health plan.

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