The Catholic - Labor Network

 (Updated: April 20, 2009)

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Background Articles for
the Employee Free Choice Act


Bishop Gabino Zavala - In Support of the Employee Free Choice Act

Clayton Sinyai - More Perfect Unions: The Need for New Labor Laws

Fr. George Schultze - On the Need for the Employee Free Choice Act

Catholic Labor Network - Letter to Members of Congress

Fr. Thomas Massaro, S.J. - More Perfect Unions: Violations of Workers Rights Cannot be Unchallenged





Catholics for Working Families

The Catholic Labor Network has joined with
Catholics for Working Families
to assist in the efforts to pass the Employees Free Choice Act. Please visit the site, and sign their  petition of EFCA
support.

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Initiatives - The Newsletter of the National Center for the Laity

Catholic Social Thought Web Site by John Ryan Institute and Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace

World Movement of Christian Workers

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The Catholic Labor Network's Position on

the Employees Free Choice Act

Members of the executive committe of the Catholic Labor Network have followed very closely efforts by working Americans to put into law the Employees Free Choice Act (House Bill & Senate Bill). Our Catholic social teachings have always endorsed the right of workers to join in associations so as to enter into collective bargaining with employers. However, the ability of this natural right, and civil right garaunteed by the National Labor Relations Act has been much eroded over the years.

Catholic Labor Network Letter to Elected Officials & Trade Unions Regarding Employee Free Choice Act

Well over a century ago, with the rise of industrial capitalism, Pope Leo XIII issued his encyclical Rerum Novarum. Reflecting on how the modern economy too often offered the rich and powerful an opportunity to exploit working people, he took consolation in the multiplication of “workingmen’ s unions” that helped ameliorate the condition of labor. “There are not a few associations of this nature,” the Holy Father observed, “but it were greatly to be desired that they should become more numerous and more efficient.”

But we live today in a nation where associations of this nature are becoming steadily fewer, in large measure because of widespread unlawful action by employers to obstruct the right of workers to organize in unions. Conservative estimates indicate that tens of thousands of workers are fired every year for exercising their lawful right to organize. Seeking a union under today’s National Labor Relations Act system is an arduous and dangerous process for employees if their employers object, yet penalties for violating the Act are so trivial  as to create economic incentives for illegal union-busting activities.

Catholic social teaching on the right of workers to organize has been admirably consistent over the century since Leo XIII wrote, with John Paul II observing even more emphatically in his 1981 encyclical “Laborem Exercens” that labor unions are “indeed a mouthpiece for the struggle for social justice” and in fact “an indispensable element of social life.”

We in the Catholic Labor Network agree that trade unions represent “an indispensable element of social life” and that “it were greatly to be desired that they should become more numerous,” but that the current condition of labor law in the United States militates against this. The Employee Free Choice Act would help address this problem. For this reason, we in the Catholic Labor Network conclude that the Employee Free Choice Act represents a sound public policy method to effect the purposes of Catholic Social Teaching.        

Coordinating Committee
Catholic Labor Network
12-16-09




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