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Religion | IN BRIEF / EDINBURG, TEXAS

Diocese and Union Workers Come to Terms

August 23, 2003|From Times Wire Reports

Four lay workers fired in a labor dispute involving the Roman Catholic Church finalized an agreement in state district court restoring their jobs and union benefits.

According to the deal announced this week between United Farm Workers attorneys and the Diocese of Brownsville, the employees at Holy Spirit parish in McAllen will continue working under a union contract that is believed to be the first negotiated with a U.S. Catholic church.

"I've been getting calls from all over the country from people saying they had never seen an agreement like this happen," Texas UFW director Rebecca Flores said.

The workers insist that the June 18 termination notices by the Rev. Ruben Delgado -- his first day on the job -- were the church's way of scuttling their efforts to unionize. Bishop Raymundo Pena has denied the allegations.

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