Unions

Image via RNS/The Catholic University of America/Dana Rene Bowler

For much of its long history in the U.S., the Catholic Church was known as the champion of the working class, a community of immigrants whose leaders were steadfast in support of organized labor and economic justice – a faith-based agenda that helped provide a path to success for its largely working-class flock.

In recent decades, as those ethnic European Catholics assimilated and grew wealthier, and as the concerns of the American hierarchy shifted to battles over moral issues, such as abortion and gay marriage, traditional pocketbook issues took a back seat.

the Web Editors 03-29-2016

Image via  /Shutterstock

On March 29, public sector unions narrowly avoided a severe blow as the Supreme Court handed down a 4-4 ruling in the case of Friedrichs v. California Teachers’ Association. The split ruling in the case, which dealt with the use of “fair-share” fees by public unions to fund their collective bargaining on behalf of all employees (including non-union employees).

The split ruling means that the Ninth Circuit’s ruling in favor of the teachers’ union and their use of such fees will stand, though no new precedent will be set.

Patrick O'Neill 03-14-2013

Baldemar Velasquez

Farm labor organizer Baldemar Velasquez on making it real in the here and now.

Patrick O'Neill 03-14-2013

In today's environment, there's little difference between farm labor organizing and immigration reform.

Phil Haslanger 02-11-2013

Anti-labor laws undermine unions in the Midwest. Will faith communities rise to the challenge?

Thomas Gumbleton 12-12-2012
Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Union members rally at the Michigan State Capitol on Dec. 11. Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

“We firmly oppose organized efforts, such as those regrettably now seen in this country, to break existing unions and prevent workers for organizing.”

My brother bishops and I wrote that more than a quarter-century ago in our 1986 letter Economic Justice for All.  Regrettably, it rings true still today. 

The right-to-work legislation that was passed by the House and the Senate in Michigan just this month is designed to break unions. It is designed to prevent workers from organizing. And we must oppose it as firmly as we did during the 1980s. 

Steve Jerbi 06-06-2012
 By: Scott Olson/Getty Images.

Wisconsin Gov. Walker Holds Recall Election Night Gathering By: Scott Olson/Getty Images.

The votes are counted, the concession speeches made, the victory parties had. Wisconsin, a word that has become as synonymous with divisive politics as it is for cheese and beer, is done with the recalls.

In the end, some change was made. Between the first round of recalls and yesterday’s election, the senate has shifted from Republican to Democratic control. And yet, not much has changed. We still have a union-busting governor and a climate change doubter as lieutenant governor.

The calls, from politicians and citizens, have been pretty consistent. It is time to move forward. It is time to put aside our divisions and find a way to govern together. It is time of our state to heal.

Whatevs.

See, I’m not all that interested in moving forward – not because I like the fighting or because I think it is healthy to be so divided that the mere mention of politics in casual conversation makes blood pressures boil.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker greets supporters at an election-night rally June 5 in Waukesha, Wis. Scott Olson/Getty Images

Scott Walker has survived. His intent to divide and conquer worked. First he sought to divide public workers – teachers and others from police and firefighters. This did not work. He sought to separate public employees from “taxpayers,” as if public employees are not also taxpayers. He brought South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley to campaign for him. She boasted of being a union buster. So-called “right to work” is a pillar of conservative Republican politics.

Hallelujah anyhow.
Phil Haslanger 02-14-2012
Red heart balloon. Image via Wylio, http://bit.ly/yctzSw.

Red heart balloon. Image via Wylio, http://bit.ly/yctzSw.

Now we are at Valentine’s Day a year later. For many months last spring, a solitary red heart balloon floated just under the dome of the Capitol. It became a gentle symbol of this powerful people’s uprising.

The red heart balloon can serve as a reminder of how God’s Spirit blows whichever way it will, but that God’s Spirit is a spirit of justice and of compassion. As Bishop Burnside said, voices of faith need both a vocabulary of love and a vocabulary of justice as we move into the highly-charged months ahead.

Jack Palmer 11-28-2011

Attack On The Middle Class!!; Union Leader Declined To Endorse Romney Because He ‘Represents The One Percent’; And Now It's Time For The Occupy Obituaries; Pastor Fights HIV Stigma In Southern Town; Do Protestants Need Some Holy Humor?; A Preaching 'Genius' Faces His Toughest Convert; GOP Foreign Policy: Neoconservatives Looking For A Comeback In 2012.

Jack Palmer 11-10-2011
The Afternoon News

The Afternoon News

Reawakening the Radical Imagination. Proposed Keystone XL pipeline route may be reassessed. OpEd: The answer is: Spend less. Cornel West keeps the faith for Occupy Wall Street. Most Americans support raising the minimum wage. Smithsonian museum on Jefferson's Bible. Poll suggests evangelicals favor redistribution of wealth. Defining poverty in a land of plenty. Is American becoming a nation of poor children? Are older Americans better off? Immigration in the South. Are unions and young people a winning combination for 2012? Unemployment claims drop for the second straight week. And Christian leaders talk about marriage and sex.

Rev. Peg Chemberlin 05-10-2011
Years ago, the member communions of the National Council of Churches declared that a budget is a moral document.
Lauren F. Winner 05-01-2011

Punching Out: One Year in a Closing Auto Plant, by Paul Clemens

Jim Wallis 04-07-2011
The hunger fast for a moral budget has gone spiritually viral. Ten days ago, we announced at the National Press Club that the budget debate had become a moral crisis.

Before last week, we'd rarely thought about unions or union rights, but living in Madison these days, it seems that we hardly make it through an hour without hearing the words "unions" and "collective bargaining." In the past week, we've tried to give ourselves a crash course on what e

Jake Olzen 02-21-2011
A week after a shocked world reveled in Egypt's incredible moment of freedom and people power, Wisconsin is reviving its own unique tradition of people power and creative protest.
Daoud Kuttab 02-18-2011
Ten years ago, I established AmmanNet, the Arab world's first Internet radio that used technology to create audio and text content freely.
Duane Shank 02-18-2011
An estimated 30,000 people converged in Madison, Wisconsin's Capitol Square and inside the Capitol building on Thursday http://www.chicagotribune.com/sns-rt-usreport-us-usa-wisctre71h07e-2

The issue of illegal immigration in the United States requires an anti-logic of radical love. (The anti-logic I propose is not fallacious logic. The distinction is a topic for another essay.) Christianity is a counter-intuitive religion.

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