Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Catholic Social Teaching 101 on the right to organize and form unions

Update: Talk about irony. I just looked at the "Today in History" column in the newspaper and came across the following entry:

  • In 1981, authorities in Poland imposed martial law in a crackdown on the Solidarity labor movement. (Martial law formally ended in 1983.)
See Update II on subsequent post for complete story of Dean Dobranski's attempts to stop organizing at the Ave Maria School of Law.

The Dean must not realize that unions are a good and positive thing for workers. Also, since he has decided to openly contradict very clear and detailed Catholic Social Teaching on this point, we offer him the following refresher course:

History teaches us that organizations of this type are an indispensable element in social life, especially in industrialized societies. This does not mean that only industrial workers can form these associations. Every profession can use them: agricultural workers, white-collar workers, and employers.
On Human Work (Donders), #20

The important role of union organizations must be admitted: their object is the representation of the various categories of workers, their lawful collaboration in the economic advance of society, and the development of the sense of their responsibility for the realization of the common good.
A Call to Action, #14

Among the basic rights of the human person is to be numbered the right of freely founding unions for working people. They should be able truly to represent them and to contribute to the organizing of economic life in the right way. Included is the right of freely taking part in the activity of these unions without risk of reprisal. Through this orderly participation joined to progressive economic and social formation, all will grow day by day in the awareness of their won function and responsibility, and thus they will be brought to feel that they are comrades in the whole task of economic development and in the attainment of the universal common good according to their capacities and aptitudes.
The Church in the Modern World, #68

The following exceprts are verbatim from Economic Justice for All, #104

The church fully supports the right of workers to form unions or other associations to secure their rights to fair wages and working conditions. This is a specific application of the more general right to associate. In the words of Pope John Paul II, "The experience of history teaches that organizations of this type are an indispensable element of social life, especially in modern industrialized societies."
Unions may also legitimately resort to strikes where this is the only available means to the justice owed to workers. No one may deny the right to organize without attacking human dignity itself. Therefore, we firmly oppose organized efforts, such as those regrettably now seen in this country, to break existing unions and prevent workers from organizing. Migrant agricultural workers today are particularly in need of the protection, including the right to organize and bargain collectively. U.S. labor law reform is needed to meet these problems as well as to provide more timely and effective remedies for unfair labor practices.

For a full discussion of Catholic Social Teaching on the theme of unions, please see:



At 2:46 PM, Blogger Poor Billy said...

Or, worse yet is if he DOES realize that unions are positive thing for workers.

At 4:05 PM, Blogger Kate said...


I think, like other AM big wigs, its just a function of being a Catholic Republican, rather than a Republican Catholic - if you get my drift.

At 5:28 PM, Blogger The_Peach said...

Against the mission? Hmmm. Here's the mission statement:
One would think that a school with a mission focussed on education following the "teaching authority of the church" would apply the same devotion to those teachings to its administrative workings as well...

At 6:07 PM, Blogger Columcille said...

Is there any verification of this meeting?


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