05 February 2007

If you had a choice...

This from Mike Konopacki, with his permission. Konopacki and Gary Huck are authors of Bye! American, Mad in USA, Two Headed Space Alien Shrinks Labor Movement, Working Class Hero, and Them.

My editor in Portland has a framed aphorism on his wall: "Organized Labor: the folks who invented the weekend."

Americans turn away from organized labor at our peril. Unions are another way of spelling middle-class and American values. Here's what the Catholics say:
The Principle of Participation.
"We believe people have a right and a duty to participate in society, seeking together the common good and well-being of all, especially the poor and vulnerable..."

Without participation, the benefits available to an individual through any social institution cannot be realized. The human person has a right not to be shut out from participating in those institutions that are necessary for human fulfillment.

This principle applies in a special way to conditions associated with work. "Work is more than a way to make a living; it is a form of continuing participation in God's creation. If the dignity of work is to be protected, then the basic rights of workers must be respected--the right to productive work, to decent and fair wages, to organize and join unions, to private property, and to economic initiative"
That's from Jesuit Father William Byron's article in America, on the "Ten Building Blocks of Catholic Social Teaching." He in turn drew from Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions--Reflections of the U.S. Catholic Bishops, p. 5.

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