Catholic teachers in Westchester stage sickout

More than a thousand students were sent home early Thursday after Catholic schoolteachers in Westchester and the Hudson Valley staged a sickout.

Among the 10 Catholic schools affected by the sickout are Archbishop Stepinac in White Plains, Maria Regina in Hartsdale, John Kennedy in Somers and Burke in Goshen. Union officials say the sickout is due to "the arrogance of Cardinal Egan and the New York Archdiocese."

The teachers have been working without a contract since August 31. In November, the teachers staged informational pickets before heading to work. The union is looking for the top teacher salary to hit $60,000 by 2009, but the archdiocese's top offer is currently slightly more than $58,000.

The archdiocese says it has made a fair offer and doesn?t like the teachers? surprise tactics.

?This sickout today isn?t going to intimidate us,? Joe Zwilling, of the Archdiocese of New York, said. ?It?s not going to threaten us, not going to bully us into doing a deal that would not be good for our parents.?

Union officials say they will continue to stage sickouts until a deal is reached. They say they will consider walking out of class when Pope Benedict XVI visits New York if a deal hasn?t been reached by that time.

Union officials say classes will resume on Friday.

Related Information:Catholicschool teachers threaten sickout across WC

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