The Common Good
September/October 2009

Catholic-Labor Rights

by Laurel Frodge | September/October 2009

LABOR UNIONS, CATHOLIC health-care providers, and the U.S.

LABOR UNIONS, CATHOLIC health-care providers, and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops made significant strides for worker justice with the release in June, after a 10-year process, of the document “Respecting the Just Rights of Workers: Guidance and Options for Catholic Health Care and Unions.” The agreement will assist nearly 600,000 workers from a network of 600 hospitals and 1,200 health-care agencies in making informed decisions on whether to be represented by a union, and guarantees employers will support workers’ choices without undue pressure. The document, rooted in Catholic social teaching, states that “health care is a human right” and asserts two key values: the central role of workers in choosing their representation and the principle of mutual agreement between employers and unions to protect workers’ free choice in representation.

“In the midst of the national conversation about the Employee Free Choice Act,” Kim Bobo, executive director and founder of Interfaith Worker Justice, told Sojourners, “the release of this document demonstrates the problems workers face when they try to organize, even in religious institutions, and the need for significant changes in the process for workers making a choice about whether or not they want a union and getting a contract in a reasonable time period.” —Laurel Frodge

Sojourners relies on the support of readers like you to sustain our message and ministry.

Related Stories

Like what you're reading? Get Sojourners E-Mail updates!

Sojourners Comment Community Covenant

I will express myself with civility, courtesy, and respect for every member of the Sojourners online community, especially toward those with whom I disagree, even if I feel disrespected by them. (Romans 12:17-21)

I will express my disagreements with other community members' ideas without insulting, mocking, or slandering them personally. (Matthew 5:22)

I will not exaggerate others' beliefs nor make unfounded prejudicial assumptions based on labels, categories, or stereotypes. I will always extend the benefit of the doubt. (Ephesians 4:29)

I will hold others accountable by clicking "report" on comments that violate these principles, based not on what ideas are expressed but on how they're expressed. (2 Thessalonians 3:13-15)

I understand that comments reported as abusive are reviewed by Sojourners staff and are subject to removal. Repeat offenders will be blocked from making further comments. (Proverbs 18:7)