HB 26 has been introduced in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. The legislation proposes granting oversight of employee relations in Catholic schools to the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board. In effect, the bill would force Catholic schools to accept teachers unions, even those who may endorse ideas that go against Church teaching like abortion or gay marriage, and bargain with their representatives. The state government, through the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board, would oversee and rule in any labor disputes. This bill will jeopardize the constitutionally protected religious liberty of the Catholic Church and compromise its teaching mission in Catholic schools. Futhermore, it provides no protections against teacher strikes in private schools, unlike the obstacles to public school teacher strikes that are included in other laws.
The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference (PCC) opposes HB 26. The Catholic Church has long been supportive of workers; but the government has no place in interposing itself as arbiter within religious ministries. HB 26 is currently being considered by the House Labor Relations Committee.
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