Most Reverend Archbishop Raymond L. BurkeWe had very few, if any, lay teachers in grade school when I was there many years ago. For the most part, all of them, the sisters and lay teachers did an excellent job. My stong foundation in the faith is largely the result of many very good religious sisters solidly committed to educating us when we were children.
The Catholic Center
4445 Lindell Blvd. St. Louis MO 63108
Dear Archbishop Burke:
As you are aware, the Association of Catholic Elementary Educators (ACEE Local 1312) is an affiliated Local Union of the Carpenters' District Council of Greater St. Louis and Vicinity. Mary Chubb, President of Local 1312, has dutifully reported to this office that the spokesman for the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Most Reverend Robert Hermann, has made certain remarks concerning Labor Unions in general and ACEE Local 1312 in particular, that has me personally disturbed and concerned.
Statements such as ACEE Local 1312 is using "scare tactics" and stating that "unions are outmoded", "unions mean strikes", using "phony documents", "unions are not the way to go" and "unions are eroding" affect the integrity of not only ACEE Local 1312, but also this District Council, and all labor organizations.
Mrs. Chubb recently wrote to you, asking if Bishop Hermann's comments portrayed the St. Louis Archdiocese's position on Labor Unions. If this is indeed the case, I would like to hear this from you, as the Archbishop of the St. Louis Archdiocese, rather than from one of your subordinates. Since you are new to the St. Louis area, as a professional courtesy, I have decided to give you the benefit of the doubts that Bishop Hermann has raised by his degradation of Unions, and slanderous remarks toward an affiliate of this District Council.
Perhaps, you should be made aware of the position of this District Council and its affiliated Local Unions. Whenever asked for assistance, financial or otherwise, the Carpenters' District Council has always been there to help. We support many efforts of many parishes within the Archdiocese with financial contributions, on a regular basis. The neighboring parishes of our District Council offices know they can always count on the "Carpenters" for support. This assistance comes from hardworking people, in forty- four counties hi Missouri, thirty-three counties in Illinois, and people in all walks of life, including the members of ACEE Local 1312. The Carpenters' Union represents "working people" and not just those who work in the construction industry. It is appalling to be slapped in the face with such remarks for the helping hand that has always been extended to the Catholic Church in St. Louis.
Bishop Hermann's response to Mrs. Chubb's letter asking for the position of the Archdiocese on Labor Organizations remains unanswered. It only stated that many things were taken out of context, which is hard to believe since the two officers of Local 1312, Mrs, Mary Chubb, and Ms. Stephanie Funiaole, who also attended the meeting with Bishop Hermann, both clearly understood Bishop Hermann's message.
It is my duty, as the Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Carpenters' District Council of St. Louis and Vicinity, to report matters such as this to the District Council Delegates who represent the 22,000 members from the thirty-nine affiliated Local Unions. As mentioned earlier, I also feel it is necessary to give you and the Archdiocese the benefit of the doubts raised by Bishop Hermann, and allow you to respond to our question.
Are Bishop Robert Hermann's remarks and degrading comments about Labor Unions made to Mrs. Mary Chubb and Ms. Stephanie Funiaole the position of the Archdiocese of St. Louis?
Tuning is of the utmost importance in this matter. Hearing no response by the end of April will leave me no choice but to fulfill my obligations and report this heart wrenching situation, first to my members and then to all Labor Unions in the Community.
Had so many not abandoned this noble endeavor to pursue and embrace eco-theology and other strange activities, perhaps this subject would not be pertinent. While there are, no doubt, many very good lay teachers involved in Catholic education, one wonders why they go into this field fully aware that the pay and benefits are different from that of public schools. How many are more concerned with providing a solid Catholic foundation for children as opposed to other reasons?