In 1984 the first teachers' union recognized by the Diocese of Camden was
formed. It was called the Secondary Contracted Teachers Organization. The
SCTO took over from a Lay Faculty Council which negotiated salaries and
benefits with the Diocesan schools since the mid-60’s.
In the 1984-1985 school year the newly formed union started negotiations
for a full contract to cover all employment aspects including working conditions,
due process, etc. following diocesan recognition of SCTO as the sole and
exclusive bargaining agent for the schools’ lay faculty. When negotiations
failed to bring about a contract, lay teachers staged a work stoppage in
the first semester and then a two week strike in the second semester of
that school year. The strike resulted in the first negotiated contract
between the teachers’ union and the diocese.
SCTO negotiators successfully reached agreement with the diocese in three
subsequent contracts (1987, 1990, 1991).
In 1989 Special Education teachers in the diocese were brought into the
union. The teachers work in high schools already covered by the union as
well as some diocesan elementary schools.
In 1993, union officers met with diocesan elementary school teachers who
desired to organize. Union officers then met with diocesan officials and
determined that the diocese was trying to deny elementary school teachers
their labor rights.
In August 1994, the union filed a lawsuit against the diocese to enforce
New Jersey's constitutional provisions for collective bargaining on behalf
of the elementary school teachers.
In 1994, SCTO secondary school/Special Education negotiations broke down
in late summer and the teachers staged a one week strike. The strike ended
after the teachers met with the diocesan bishop and a fifth contract was
From December 1994 through February 1996 the elementary lawsuit progressed
through hearings at the Superior Court and Appellate Court levels.
On July 24, 1997 the New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the
elementary school teachers had labor rights guaranteed by the state constitution
and ordered the Superior Court to oversee representational elections in
certain diocesan elementary schools. SCTO was elected as the collective
bargaining agent for four diocesan elementary schools.
In 1997, SCTO members again staged a strike when secondary school/Special
Education negotiations broke down. Following the strike, the sixth contract
with the Camden diocese was signed. Secondary school and Special Education
teachers are currently working under that contract until August 2002.
Throughout 1998 and 1999 elementary school negotiations continued, without
reaching contract agreement.
In 1999, the union changed its name to the Catholic Teachers Union - NJ.