Report: At Least 500 Catholic Institutions Employ Union Labor

union-yesWhen the US Catholic Bishops invoke the rich history of Catholic social teaching to defend the rights of labor, all of the faithful can learn from their words. When Catholic hospitals, schools and universities respect workers’ right to organize, the faithful can learn from their actions.

Today the Catholic Labor Network is pleased to release its 2016 Gaudium et Spes Labor Report, featuring a list of approximately 500 Catholic institutions employing union labor.

Did you know, for instance, that more than 350 Catholic elementary, middle and high schools in the United States have union contracts with their teachers? Although these schools are exempt from the jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Board, the federal agency that protects workers’ rights, that doesn’t mean they can’t have unions. Many Diocesan school systems model Catholic social teaching by bargaining with the unions their teachers have chosen anyway.

The list also includes roughly 150 Catholic hospitals and nursing homes, more than 30 Catholic colleges and universities, and a variety of other institutions such as Diocesan newspapers, Catholic cemeteries, and social service agencies – even the cafeteria workers at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception Washington DC.

The list is broken down by state and Diocese. Take a look and check out which Catholic employers in your area are exhibiting their fidelity to Catholic social teaching with their actions… and thank both management and labor for their witness!

1 reply
  1. Mark Koerner
    Mark Koerner says:

    It’s great to see your report on Catholic employers with collective bargaining agreements. I noticed, however, that your webpage reproduced UNION YES! without the traditional AFL-CIO logo inside the “O” of UNION. I guess this was appropriate, as many of the listed unions don’t belong to the AFL-CIO. A few belong to the rival federation, Change to Win. Others are truly “independent unaffiliated unions,” i.e., they don’t belong to any federation. A comprehensive list of such unions would certainly include the National Association of Catholic School Teachers, the AAUP, and independent faculty unions at Catholic colleges. In an ideal world, shouldn’t all such unions have the right to join either the AFL-CIO or Change to Win as full members (“affiliates”)? If not, why not? Perhaps the leaders of both federations believe that there should be only a few big unions? Or that the little unions just aren’t viable, despite the fact that some are older–and perhaps more solvent?– than several AFL-CIO and CtW unions? Or maybe they think there should be only one union per industry? None of these arguments seem persuasive, at least to me. If the two existing federations consistently refuse to admit bonafide, legitimate unions, perhaps the Catholic Labor Network should look into forming a third umbrella-type federation. You could call it the Community Of Independent Labor (COIL) or the Federation Of Independent Labor (FOIL)–or something less cutesy. Big-name labor leaders from well-known unions would oppose creating a third federation, but is it really such a bad idea? What is the alternative? Permanent outcast status for hundreds of American unions?

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