Documents & Articles which concern Catholic and Labor Issues
We strongly invite all those who visit this page, and who share a common interest in issues effecting the Catholic Church and the Labor Movement to subscribe. Occasionally, notices will be sent when this page is updated. When important events happen, we will pass on the information through the e-mail list, and most of all, the e-mail list is a means by which we can pray and support each other.
Some Catholic and Labor Links
Catholic Health System, Union Set Expedited Election Rules
By Jerry Filteau
April 10, 2001
Catholic News ServiceWASHINGTON (CNS) -- Catholic Healthcare West and the Service Employees International Union have signed a landmark agreement on procedures and conduct for expedited union representation elections.
The 15-page accord between the nation's largest health care union and
the West Coast's largest Catholic health
Veteran labor rights leader Msgr. George G. Higgins called it "a historic
document" that "goes far beyond" any
The agreement is particularly important because it goes beyond a statement of general principles to "specific ways of implementing them," he said.
Catholic Healthcare West, with headquarters in San Francisco, is a network of 48 hospitals employing some 40,000 people in California, Nevada and Arizona. The agreement covers the 45 California and Nevada institutions. It includes a union-administration pact to pursue joint efforts to improve U.S. health care in several areas of public policy, including universal access to affordable health care, expanded rights for immigrant workers and expanded federal and state health care coverage for children.
For several years the SEIU has been engaged in extensive efforts to
organize employees at Catholic Healthcare
In a letter to employees announcing the agreement, Catholic Healthcare
West chief executive officer Lloyd H.
The letter said Catholic Healthcare West "prefers a direct relationship
between employer and employee" but
The joint news release announcing the agreement cknowledged the importance of the support both sides received from California Attorney General Bill Lockyer, Los Angeles Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, San Francisco Archbishop William J. Levada and Mercy Sister Mary Roch Rocklage, president and chief executive officer of the Sister of Mercy Health System in St. Louis.
Sister Rocklage and Cardinal Mahony were involved in a national task
force, put together by the U.S. bishops'
Those guidelines, issued in August 1999, urged both sides in union organizing campaigns to avoid threats or intimidation, making misleading claims, impugning the motives of the other side or "losing sight of the fact that this (union representation) is a decision for the workers themselves to make."
The guidelines remained at the level of general principles, however, urging management, unions and workers alike to support and respect the rights of workers to make their own free decision, based on accurate information and free of coercion, regarding representation in the workplace.
The agreement makes no reference to the task force or its guidelines.
But Cardinal Mahony brought them into the discussion in 1999 when he intervened
personally to try to break a CHW-SEIU stalemate, and principles spelled
out in the guidelines are reflected in the specific details of the agreement.
In the agreement both sides affirmed the primacy of the workers' right
to decide. Both agreed not to impugn the
Catholic Healthcare West institutions agreed not to let supervisors
meet one-on-one with employees to advise
Under the agreement, the SEIU is allowed to post literature on at least
one public bulletin board in a hospital where it is engaged in organizing
activity; if the hospital uses more than one bulletin board to post its
views on a unionization effort, the union will have access to an equal
number of bulletin boards.
The Chicago-based National Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice hailed the agreement as a "positive step forward" allowing CHW employees ``a fair and free process for exercising their right to organize and choose whether they want a union."
Papal Social Encyclicals Other Catholic Social Teachings General Articles of Interest Catholic Worker Connection
Msgr. George Higgins Home Page
E-Mail: Fr. Sinclair Oubre