House Bill 2626 would amend the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Act to specifically include lay teachers and other employees of religious employers such as Catholic schools. In effect, the bill would force Catholic schools to accept teachers unions 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.
The Catholic Church established its schools for the very purpose of passing on the Catholic faith to Church’s new generations of Catholics,” he said. “Our teaching mission is not the same as the Church’s works of charity. The teachers and staff at our Catholic schools are not merely providing a service; they are in effect ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Catholic schools do not segment their functions into religious and secular components. At all times, the Catholic school is engaged catechesis and the formation of the Christian personality, a process integrated within the curriculum and disciplines of the Catholic schools. Teachers in Catholic schools choose this honorable ministry and accept the responsibility to spread the Gospel by way of example both in word and in conduct.
How can the law allow a secular outside agency like the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board to interfere with the relationship between the Bishop and his ministers of the Gospel without violating the Constitution?