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 (Updated: Jan 2003)

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The Church and Ethics in Construction

Policy on the Use of Labor in Construction:
Archdiocese of Washington

[Excerpts from the Archdiocese of Washington policy on the use of Union Labor in construction, as revised in 1999, are found below.]

There has a long-standing policy in the Archdiocese of Washington to employ only union contractors for major building and renovation projects, i.e. those in excess of $1.5 million, exclusive of site work. This applies to all properties held in the name of the Archbishop of Washington...

Without a priority for union construction, the Church would usually find itself using lower-cost non-union workers and, as a result, denying jobs to workers who have chose to exercise the right to organize. A bidding process which ignores this issue will result in a practical preference for companies which have no unions and pay their workers less. On the other hand, a policy of using union labor for Church construction demonstrates taht the Church practices what it preaches to others and that we are serious in supporting the rights of workers. Such a policy truly reflects Church teaching with its emphasis on the positive value of trade unions and our supprot for workers' participation in the decisions about their jobs through their unions.

This policy is not unusual. Such a policy is in force in major Archdioceses across the country. In light of a clear commitment to principle in this area, it may be possible to gain cooperation and assistance of labor leaders and union contractors on holding down costs.

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