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Labour Board fights Catholics (Canada).

Prince George, B.C.--The Diocese of Prince George announced at the end of August that it would fight the B.C. Labour Relations Board's latest ruling regarding Bishop Wiesner's decision last year to shut down Fort St. John's Immaculata Elementary School.

The Labour Relations Board (LRB) sided with unionized teachers who wanted a neutral third party to arbitrate disputes between them and their employer, the diocese. At issue was a "Catholicity clause" which requires teachers to conform to Catholic teaching both inside and outside the classroom. Teachers who are dismissed for failing to do so can appeal the decision to the bishop, but the union wants a neutral third party to adjudicate such disputes.

Ted West, superintendent of Catholic schools for the diocese, said, "We appealed on the basis that they are trying to say that the Catholicity clause is illegal." The impact of the LRB ruling will be devastating if it is allowed to stand, he warned. "All Catholic and Christian schools throughout the province will be unable to carry forward the mission in the light of this development. It's obvious that the BCGEU (the B.C. Government Employees' Union, which the teachers had joined) will not recognize our Catholicity clause, but we believe we have every right to establish conditions for our schools and the bishop has the right to arbitrate faith and morals as they apply to the school and the diocese."

The LRB found that the bishop has the authority to develop standards for Catholic teachers, but he does not have the right to impose discipline on those who contravene those standards. Bishop Gerald Wiesner, OMI, obviously does not agree.
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Title Annotation:third-party arbitration in disputes between teachers' union and Diocese of Prince George
Publication:Catholic Insight
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1CBRI
Date:Dec 1, 2000
Words:275
Previous Article:Schools in B.C. and Alberta (Canada).
Next Article:Catholic rights reaffirmed in Alberta (Canada).
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