Southwest Ohio Teachers Form Union in Response to Catholic Schools Contract

May 16, 2014

  Some Catholic school teachers in southwest Ohio have formed a union to represent them.   Organizers say they've taken this action in response to a new restrictive employment contract created by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

The controversial agreement has drawn national attention because of a morality clause that spells out actions that could cause teachers to lose their jobs. The actions include but are not limited to  showing public support for abortion, sex outside of marriage and homosexual lifestyles.

Jennifer Teleha has taught for eight years at Ascension School in Kettering.  She helped organize the group of educators who want to enter into collective bargaining under the umbrella Southwest Ohio Catholic Educators Association or SWOCEA.

 Teleha: "it is a form of collaboration between employer and employee. It has a process to it to make sure this communication is civil,it is open it is respectful,it is positive,it is empowering for both parties involved. Nobody has dominance over the other party"

Teleha says the union is in it's infancy. So far only two schools of the 93 affected by the contract have joined SWOCEA. 

Archdiocesan officials confirm that the pastors of Ascension and  Holy Angels parishes, both in the Dayton area, have been contacted about the formation of what the Archdiocese is calling a "teachers association."