Negotiations between the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and its teachers' union broke down early this morning as the sides tried to carve out a last-minute deal before school is scheduled to start Wednesday.
The two sides negotiated virtually non-stop over the weekend and reported progress, but remained unresolved on a number of issues. The Association of Catholic Teachers is holding a meeting this morning and could vote to authorize a strike.
The Archdiocese claims the teachers walked away from the table. "The Archdiocesan team was willing to talk until the last minute but the Association's team walked away from the table with significant issues not agreed upon or in some cases even discussed. Many issues were not responded to since the Archdiocesan team presented them in mid-August," said a release from the Archdiocese.
Union president Rita Schwartz told reporters that the Archdiocese would not accept any counter proposals.
The outcome of the negotiations will affect 17 Catholic high schools and approximately 16,000 students. The current contract expired Aug. 31 and covers 700 lay and religious teachers.