In 1986, six Jesuit priests in El Salvador known for their bold social justice advocacy were murdered in their home by a right-wing death squad. For decades, Jesuit colleges, universities, high schools and other institutions have organized an annual teach-in for social justice. At this year’s teach-in, November 12-14, some two thousand students, staff and faculty in the Ignatian family have gathered for a weekend of workshops on Catholic Social Teaching and current events, to be followed Monday by visits with their representatives on Capitol Hill.
CLN President Phil Tabbita and I represented the Catholic Labor Network at the event. Criminal justice reforms addressing mass incarceration and protection for immigrant workers and families lead the agenda this year, but the teach-in also touched on themes that should be of interest to Catholic institutions seeking to model Catholic social teaching in their labor relations and purchasing decisions.
Alexandrios Taliadoros and Nick Wertsch from Georgetown’s Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor held a workshop sharing information about Georgetown’s Just Employment Policy. The policy guarantees all workers on the campus a living wage and the right to join a union if they wish; it applies to both workers directly paid by Georgetown or paid through a contractor providing campus services. The workshop drew a lively crowd of students interested in promoting justice for workers at their college.
We also met the team from Ethix Merch, a firm promoting union made T-shirts and other gear for Church and student groups that want to display their commitment to fair wages and decent working conditions. (They produce for many local unions as well.) Does your parish organization, local union or other advocacy group need to outfit your team? Feel free to contact me for more info!