By Denise Dick
About 100 Catholic elementary school teachers will decide later this month whether to be part of a union.
The vote involves lay teachers (not clergy) at Holy Family in Poland and St. Charles and St. Nicholas, both in Boardman, which are not part of the Youngstown Diocesan Confederation of Teachers, as well as St. Christine in Youngstown, St. Joseph/Immaculate Heart of Mary in Austintown and St. Patrick in Hubbard, which are.
Randy Rair, assistant superintendent at the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown, said the schools will all become part of one cluster in terms of governance.
That change this summer will allow economies of scale and improved efficiency.
Rather than have teachers in the same governance system following two contracts, the vote will determine whether all of the teachers will be part of the union or none of them will.
“It’s more practical,” Rair said. “We believe workers have the right to collectively bargain, and we’re neutral. We believe the teachers should make the decision about what they think is best for themselves.”
Barbara McVicker, president of the confederation which also represents teachers at all three Mahoning Valley high schools in the diocese, said the 100 teachers are split about evenly between union and nonunion.
Those who aren’t part of the union didn’t have input into their contract, she said.
Membership in the confederation offers protection and the services of the union, McVicker said.
“We will negotiate with the executive board overseeing the six cluster schools and their president” if the teachers vote to be part of the confederation, she said.
The vote is set for the week of Oct. 29, although a precise date hasn’t been determined.