Cardijn Conference in Cincinnati Offers Modern Takes on See-Judge-Act

What’s Past Is Prologue?

by Bill Droel

Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati was the setting for a recent conference about young adult Catholics. It was a positive conference because no one complained about bishops, priests or Vatican policy. And no one faulted young adults for disaffection from worship or for their lifestyle. By design, several conference presentations were about bygone people and events. But the event was not a nostalgia trip. The conversation was forward-looking. The tone of the conference was directed toward the world of work, family and neighborhood. The participants drew upon past experience, but only to emphasize the importance of listening to the real experience of today’s young adults. The conference was unanimous: Talking is worthless without organizing.

The Cincinnati conference was dedicated to a person who died more than 50 years ago: Cardinal Joseph Cardijn (1882-1967), the originator of the specialized Catholic Action method and the inspiration for several groups (Christian Family Movement, Young Christian Workers, Young Christian Students and more).  The Cardijn method and specialized Catholic Action mostly faded in the late-1960s–at least in the United States. There are Cardijn-inspired groups percolating in Latin America and Africa, conference participants learned. The Cincinnati gathering included representatives from the Republic of Guinea, El Salvador and Chile. Plus, there were representatives from Australia.

Catholic leaders in the United States want to attract and retain young adults to our faith tradition. They sometimes use the term new evangelization. What Catholic leaders usually mean (and here I employ a big generalization) is attracting young adults into the church. The strategies include social events, vibrant liturgies, reverent pieties, service projects, inspiring talks and more. Many programs for young adult Catholics are worthwhile.

The basic premise for Cardijn was different, however. He did not start from the notion of bringing people into the church. In fact, he worried that young adult ministry can unwittingly reinforce individualism by conveying the impression that the church is separate from young adult environments. Instead, Cardijn and his movements sought to bring Christianity to young adults in their workplaces and schools and family settings. The basic unit is not the individual who searches for meaning or faith. The basic unit is a small group, formed among people who work together or study together or live near one another. Thus, ministry is not something done for young adults; it is done by young adults with an emphasis on their own formation. Success is measured not by how many new people are recruited for parish committees or by how many get involved in liturgical functions. Success is when a Catholic Action group achieves a small improvement in workplace policy or neighborhood relations or school settings.

Several presenters at the Cincinnati conference made the point that talk, talk, talk is not formation. A book club that considers pastoral theology, a speakers’ series during Lent, an intensive RCIA curriculum, a summer theology update program, or a monthly discussion group about Catholic topics is OK. But these do not really form or retain young adults. The secret ingredient is action. Not run-around activity with only vague goals in mind. No, the key is small focused action directed at a subpar policy or practice in the school, neighborhood or workplace. And then… now this must occur… a reflection on the action by the entire small group.

The Cardijn method is a tad sophisticated, yet it can be implemented by ordinary people in workaday settings. It requires patience, but it doesn’t have to be perfect all the time top-to-bottom, beginning-to-end. Katie Sellers, for example, tried a little Cardijn among her high school students at DePaul Cristo Rey in Cincinnati. She was teaching Catholic morality. But the students, Sellers admitted to the conference participants, were snoozing. So she introduced a case study about a woman in jail. Then the students went through the Cardijn steps: Look at this situation carefully; judge the situation in light of our own experience and our Catholic principles; act in some way. Amazingly, the students interviewed lawyers and others in criminal justice, they read Catholic documents, they collected supplies and eventually arranged a tele-meeting with the prisoner. She, in turn, encouraged the students to continue their study and their actions.

Frank Ardito from Illinois, a veteran of Catholic Action, also provided the conference with examples. Sure, he admitted, one or another small group session might fizzle. Maybe the guidebook wasn’t clear that week. Maybe the group leader misinterprets the prevailing mood. But over time the process does form people in the faith. They want to belong to the group and they want to make a difference back in their workplace or school.

Bob Pennington is a young parent and a teacher. He was responsible for the details of the Cincinnati conference. He has a young colleague in New York and they are in touch with others their age around the country, in addition to their international contacts. They do not intend to put the enthusiasm from their conference back up on a bookshelf. They want more action. Interested? Contact Pennington (robert.pennington@msj.edu).

 

-Bill Droel edits a print newsletter on faith and work, INITIATIVES (PO Box 291102, Chicago, IL 60629).

Farm Workers

The Working Catholic: Forgotten Organizer
by Bill Droel

Most grammar school and high school students encounter Cesar Chavez (1927-1993) in one or another textbook. He is heralded as a pioneer in organizing agricultural workers and as a champion of Mexican-Americans. So in September 1965 who were those farm workers who went on strike and whose action launched a boycott that brought Chavez to national attention? The workers were Filipino.
Today’s students and others probably assume that farm worker unions hardly existed until Chavez and others created the National Farm Workers Association in September 1962, writes David Bacon in Dollars & Sense (June/18). Not true. Larry Itliong (1913-1977), a Filipino-American, walked his first picket line in 1930, and even he did not invent farm worker organizing. The United Cannery, Agricultural, Packing and Allied Workers, affiliated with the CIO, was long active in the State of Washington, Alaska and California. Itliong was involved with UCAPAW and in the late 1940s he led strikes among asparagus pickers, Bacon details. In 1959 an Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee was formed in the merged AFL-CIO. In the summer of 1965 Itliong led a successful AWOC strike in the Coachella Valley.
On September 8, 1965 Itliong gathered hundreds of workers into Filipino Community Hall in Delano, California for a vote to strike the area’s grape growers. It was a bold move and Itliong realized he needed help. As is common with ethnic groups, Filipino-Americans and Mexican-Americans did not easily mingle in the community. Plus the two ethnic groups competed for jobs. Yet Itliong approached Chavez to join in the strike. Until then, Chavez was spending his time building the base and lobbying; he had yet to launch any job action; only 200 workers were paying dues to his NFWA. But Chavez realized his opportunity and within two weeks joined forces with the Filipino-Americans. Thus began the now famous Delano Grape Strike and National Boycott. Four flags were prominent in the first demonstration: the U.S. flag of course plus the flag of the Philippines, of Mexico and the flag/banner of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
In time the group’s named was changed to United Farm Workers Organizing Committee and then to United Farm Workers Union (www.ufw.org). Itliong served as an assistant to the new union, including as director of national boycotts.

The efficacy of organizing requires some oiled hinges. For example, on one side there is hyperbole and some boastfulness. On the other there is thoughtful compromise. On one side the organizer agitates hesitant people. On the other side the organizer affirms people, even as they belatedly take small steps. One side of the door the organizer fosters fierce loyalty within the group, enough to withstand external criticism. On the other side of this parochial bonding the organizer must create openness to wider society, a commitment to inclusiveness and dispel tribalism.
On one side the organizer must project confident charismatic qualities to attract busy and creative leaders. On the other side the organizer must nurture collective leadership, dampening personality factions. For Chavez, “loyalty to Chavez” often superseded the development of leaders and the external mission of the organization, as Mirian Pawel details in her sympathetic biography The Crusades of Cesar Chavez (Bloomsbury, 2014). His style was too often arbitrary. In fact, over time Chavez imported the cult-like techniques of Synanon into the UFW. Like all of us, Itliong had faults. But he spoke against Chavez’ authoritarianism. The problem, Chavez replied to Itliong, is that “you won’t obey my orders.” Thus in October 1971, Itliong resigned from UFW.

Organizing farm workers is still difficult. It is probably more difficult than in the mid-1960s. A new strategy, called worker centers, shows promise. These are not unions and cannot directly have labor contracts. This restriction is advantageous in some situations, though worker centers have shortcomings.
The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (www.ciw-online) is the best-known worker center. One-by-one CIW cajoles a major food outlet to join its Fair Food Program. The outlet agrees to purchase only from Fair Food certified vegetable growers. Those growers, in turn, have agreed to pay a couple pennies more to farm workers for each bushel of, let’s say, picked tomatoes. Burger King, Taco Bell and more are participating. The CIW cajoling, you already suspect, includes national boycotts, demonstrations and more.
There are also unions of farm workers. Farm Labor Organizing Committee (www.floc.com), based in Toledo, Ohio and affiliated with AFL-CIO, has a respectable history. Along the turf where Itliong once tread, is recently formed Familias Unidas por la Justicia (www.familiasunidasjusticia.org), an independent union. It recently brokered a positive relationship between berry pickers and Sakuma Farms. First though Familias Unidas had to wage a national boycott of Driscoll Berries and Haagen-Dazs ice cream—both of whom purchase from Sakuma Farms.
Our National Park Service has a Cesar Chavez Monument in Keene, California. Johnny Itliong, Larry’s son, and others want the Park Service to expand with perhaps a site in Delano, California and to honor Itliong, Filipino-American farm workers and all those who act for agricultural justice.

Droel’s booklet, What Is Social Justice, can be obtained from National Center for the Laity (PO Box 291102, Chicago, IL 60629; $5)

SCOTUS strikes blow against union rights of public employees

5-4 court majority ignores appeals from USCCB, unions in Janus v AFSCME

In a dramatic decision announced June 27, a narrow supreme court majority overturned decades of law and found that workers represented by public sector unions have a new constitutional right – the right not to pay union dues or fees. Read more

Catholic Institutional Labor Relations Roundup

When the College Theology Society gathered for its annual convention at Minnesota’s St. Catherine University, the role of adjunct and contingent faculty was on the agenda. A plenary session on “The Crisis of Contingent Faculty in U.S. Higher Education” looked at how universities have increasingly shifted teaching responsibilities away from career employees to “adjuncts” who earn low wages, have few or no employment benefits, and lack job security. Villanova theologian Gerry Beyer thought that this trend poses a special challenge for Catholic Colleges because the Catholic Social Teaching we are trying to share with our students is so emphatic on workers’ rights. “Many of our institutions are good at promoting justice outside our walls, but not inside our walls,” Beyer said. But a growing number of Catholic Colleges and Universities now have unions of adjunct faculty who are working with administrators toward the common good. In mid-June, Fordham University reached a tentative agreement with SEIU Local 200, representing the adjunct faculty; now the contract goes to the members for a ratification vote.

Meanwhile, in Catholic healthcare, 200 health care techs at Providence Milwaukie Hospital in Portland, OR voted to join SEIU Local 49. Nurses at the Hospital are represented by the Oregon Nurses’ Association.

The Working Catholic: Theology of Work
by Bill Droel

It was in post-World War II Poland that a positive turn occurred in the theology of work.
For centuries Catholicism, with some important exceptions, gave pride of place to worldly abandonment, including a degree of disdain for normal work. In the prevailing Catholic understanding a saint-worthy spirituality meant intense contemplation which required a retreat from ordinary workaday obligations. This attitude was derived in part from Hellenistic and Gnostic influences. It was also partially a byproduct of too close an association between the church’s princes and royalty.

Poland was in ruins following World War II—industries destroyed, cities demolished. During six years of war, over six million people died. Poland, with a long history of aristocracy, was now receptive to a Marxist ideology of work. In this context Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski (1901-1981) wrote a remarkable retreat manual, Duch Pracy Ludzkiej (The Spirit of People’s Work). This relatively unknown book was translated into English in 1960 and published in Dublin, simply titled Work. In 1995 a New Hampshire publisher released it as All You Who Labor and also as Working Your Way into Heaven. This year it appears again in the United States by way of EWTN Publishing in Alabama, titled Sanctify Your Daily Life.
In recent months several U.S. Catholic bishops have launched a program or campaign to revitalize the church in their area. These efforts focus on under-utilized buildings, a relative shortage of clergy, low participation of young adults in liturgy and insufficient funds to maintain important ministries, especially Catholic grammar schools. Wyszynski approaches the revitalization project differently. Instead of starting with the church’s own internal difficulties, he mulls over rebuilding society by way of a Christian vision of work. (As an aside: The U.S. publishers of Wyszynski’s book reflect our country’s individualistic self-help culture with titles and subtitles like Your Way and Your Life. The book’s original thrust is more about improving society or perhaps the synergy between social renewal and virtuous Christians.)
To develop his theme Wyszynski must first heave aside a common but mistaken reading of Genesis that says work is a punishment for original sin. “Even before the fall,” he writes, “people had to work, for they had to dress paradise. Work is therefore the duty of people from the first day of life. It is not the result of original sin; it is not a punishment for disobedience.”
Work is participation in God’s ongoing creation. God’s command in Genesis to “fill the earth and subdue it,” is a call to mobilization, Wyszynski writes. “When God announced the summons He saw the earth as it would become through work. God saw [all of us] who would go through the world in submissive service to Him, adding ever more perfection wrought by His power in work, to what God had made.”
And then Wyszynski gives brilliant insight into a new theology of work. The perfection of things through work perfects the person doing the work, he details. Embedded in the very process of work itself is a prior plan. Workers can find a set of virtues in the work process, varying with the type of work. Thus good work requires that we follow and respect work’s own strict and binding rules. It takes the practice of various virtues to “bring our will into conformity with the laws and techniques of work,” Wyszynski concludes. All work has an interior spiritual aspect.
Wyszynski’s book includes meditations on several work virtues. Work well-done perfects society and each worker. Good intentions or exquisite management theories do not somehow spiritualize shoddy work, much less excuse exploitation.
In summary: Work serves as a mirror to our true self and to the real character of society. “Without external work, we could not know ourselves fully,” says Wyszynski. In our work “we discover the good and evil in ourselves” and in itself work is a spirituality.

U.S. Catholicism has challenges. Absent a thorough theology of work that relates to real jobs, to actual family life and to neighborhood sidewalks, however, there will be insufficient attraction between Catholicism and young adults. Repositioning parishes and adopting better pastoral language is not enough. But, a spirituality of work that is accompanied by methods for social improvement has a chance of displacing our culture’s vacuous sloganeering, its impersonal work environments and its mistreatment of so-called economic losers. Is anyone thinking about a U.S. Catholic theology for work? Does anyone have a pastoral program for young workers?

Droel is the editor of Pope John Paul II’s Gospel of Work (National Center for the Laity, PO Box 291102, Chicago, IL 60629; $5). It continues this consideration of Poland’s contribution to work theology.

Economic Class, Part IV

The Working Catholic
by William Droel

Go to the barbershop and get a hold of The Atlantic (June/18). Its cover features a baby in a Yale University outfit. Matthew Stewart contributes a 14-page article that gives fresh perspective to our economic scene. In recent years the class divide has been termed the 99% and the 1%. Years ago it was called bourgeois and proletariat. I’ve also heard it called the upper crust and the working stiffs, or the big shots and the rest of us.
The really rich (You-Can’t Touch-This) are the top, top 1/10%. Amazingly, there are only 160,000 households in this category. They currently hold 22% of U.S. wealth—about the same percentage as they held in the 1930s. Stewart’s story is about the next 9.9%. In dollars, it takes $1.2million net worth to enter the 9.9%. To get midway into that group takes $2.4million and its top echelon has $10million in wealth. If you have over $10million sitting around, you are entering the top, top group.
It is tempting to call this 9.9% group the nouveau riche. Stewart explains, however, that those in the 9.9% do not suddenly come into money. Yet, they are a new aristocracy because they inherit important advantages. Specifically, Stewart with fascinating details says those in the 9.9% inherit a model of stable family life and also inherit enough of what it takes (money, connections and more) to obtain a degree.
Stewart, a Princeton-educated philosopher, goes beyond a straight economic analysis to unpack a difficult dynamic. There is a “difference between a social critique and a personal insult,” he writes. But all of us are prone to reject that difference. We do not possess enough objectivity to leave personalities out of it. And even if we grasp the difference, we feign powerlessness over the social reality. Those in the 9.9% justifiably believe they have done something proper by using the institution of marriage. They see their college degree as evidence of intelligence, persistent study, an encouraging family and more. In other words, the 9.9% (like all of us) make the implicit presumption that blameless (moreover virtuous) actions must add up to a good society. It is hard for all of us to grasp that seemingly innocuous behavior can scatter obstacles around society, causing inequality to harden, mobility to stall and democracy to languish.
This point is all the more difficult to make without getting trapped into identity politics, righteousness, resentful feelings, victim posturing or sloganeering. The trap is disguised within many uttered or unexpressed phrases like, “It is my hard-earned money.” “It is your lazy lifestyle.” “The best people get into the best college.” “Don’t act on your privilege.”

Catholicism has a corresponding concept that recognizes that systems can be unjust, even if individuals are well-meaning and blameless on one level. Catholicism says, for example, that poverty is a social sin or a structural evil. This obviously does not mean that being poor is sinful. Nor does it mean that being rich is sinful. (Catholicism by the way has never had the prosperity gospel notion that being rich is a sign of virtue.) Structural sin means that the original aspirations of an institution or a system have greatly departed from God’s plan. A sinful or unjust institution or system makes it harder for people to be holy—poor people and rich people. By contrast, a healthy institution makes it easier for people to be whole and holy.
Catholicism has no better luck at explaining the “difference between a social critique and a personal insult.” A Catholic homilist, for example, almost never mentions racism or sexism. It would be counterproductive because the congregation immediately goes into default position. Catholicism, which is eager to increase participation in the sacrament of reconciliation, has no ritual for dealing with exclusionary school systems, with an unfair wage structure or with closed housing patterns. Who would confess what to whom? And how do any of us make amends?

It is easy to moralize. It is hard to devise realistic change. Start though with Stewart’s Atlantic article. If a 14-page article is too long for one haircut, ask your barber to loan you the magazine for a couple days.

Droel edits a free newsletter on faith and work; INITIATIVES, PO Box 291102, Chicago, IL 60629.

500 Catholic Institutions That Live Catholic Social Teaching on Labor and Work

Catholic institutions, ranging from vast hospital chains to small parochial schools, employ approximately one million workers in the United States. When such institutions recognize and bargain with unions representing their employees, they model the principles of Catholic Social Teaching for lay business leaders and workers and  alike.

These institutions are a true source of Joy and Hope. The 2018 Gaudium et Spes Labor Report lists more than 500 such institutions with unions representing some or all of their employees. The list is separated into four major sectors (Healthcare, Higher Education, K-12 Schools, and Other), then broken out by State and Diocese.
Did you know that…

Read more

Friendship

The Working Catholic: Public Friendship
by Bill Droel

Let’s say there is a society in which everyone honors contracts—formal ones and implied promises. Managers and their employees abide by their collective bargaining agreement. Car dealers transparently present their vehicles; customers pay their loans. Real estate agents advertise “open housing” and then do not discriminate. Tax returns contain accurate figures. Civil courts are the rarity. Yet, says Pope Pius XI (1857-1939), such a utopia may disguise alienation. All the rules can be followed, but that society can lack friendship or alternately what Catholic social thought calls public charity, neighborly love or solidarity. “Justice alone,” Pius XI writes, “cannot bring about a union of hearts and minds.”

The collapse of great societies is about the decay of relationships, writes Robert Hall in This Land of Strangers (Greenleaf Books, 2012). All of our major issues, he details, are really about weak relationships—homelessness, struggling families, addiction treatment, misuse of the internet and even economic downturns. Even our daily commerce suffers under a paucity of open relationships.
The big concept in business today is “marketing the brand.” A company may have several flavors or models or instruments or services. According to the brand theory, customers, employees and stockholders will stay connected to a successfully marketed brand, no matter the specific product or service. Yet, what is actually happening? There is high employee turnover and “an ocean of employee distrust” in many sectors, Hall writes. Managers too distrust the corporate executives while those executives lose touch with the original aspirations of the company. Stockholders are fixated on quarterly returns, not on a company’s future. Customers are loyal until a competitor runs a commercial that promises the next flavor, model, service or instrument. And all the while Wells Fargo spends lots of money on their “Rebuilding Your Trust” campaign.
Society goes along treating “relationships as if they were optional,” Hall continues, even though plenty of research documents the benefits of relationships. Those with many friends and colleagues are “prospering emotionally, socially, academically and economically.” Those who have few friends and colleagues are also those who lack confidence and resiliency, who fall behind in school, and whose finances are sliding backward. What holds for individuals and families also holds for companies and non-profits. Those with only tentative ties to a small number of stakeholders have or soon will have a grim financial picture.

Has alienation run its course? Will relationships be a priority in the days ahead? According to Hall, “the small group is the unit for transformation.” Neighbors or like-minded people unite around a local concern. They get to trust one another and, over time, expand their social capital to include other concerns and other small groups. Lots of encouraging energy comes about as people connect with other members of society in new and exciting ways.
There’s the Me Too movement and the Black Lives Matter movement. There’s fresh energy in the movement for responsible gun ownership. Fresh relationships are building around local electoral campaigns. The durability and effectiveness of these movements and of other civic endeavors, however, depends on what is occurs between people, one-to-another. Does it begin and end on the internet or is there genuine face-to-face exchange? Hash tag groups and flash mob events do not in themselves contribute to a relational society. In fact if cyber-connections are overdone, there is risk of greater isolation.

Strong cultural forces make genuine relationships seem superfluous. Polish philosopher Zygmunt Bauman (1925-2017) calls those forces liquid modernity. It favors episodic and temporary attachment and fluid identity. The culture suggests that strong attachments are potential hindrances. The fickleness goes further. Views of reason and good sense change with conditions, Bauman writes. There is little assurance that what an individual holds to be true at sunset will be what that individual prefers tomorrow. Modern culture puts too much emphasis on the individual, who is quickly overwhelmed with choices in the “realm of self-fulfillment and calculation of risks,” Bauman continues. In a liquid culture, strangers and weak ties are the substitutes for “the feared fluidity of the world.”

Movements, churches, unions, civic entities and more continue to use too many shortcuts. They resort to the strategy of “better presence on the web” and spend far too much time and energy on impersonal marketing, on the color of the brochures, the advisability of TV or radio promotions and the like. They attempt to catch people on the fly–people who might attend a grand opening or a rally, people who are fond of clicking like or don’t friend.
Effective solidarity or neighborliness requires the opposite. Public friendship is grounded in virtues, beginning with amicability. It treasures finesse, attention, subtlety, forbearance and perseverance. A person’s practice of civic friendship proceeds with calculated vulnerability in a humble and sincere manner. Public virtues are nourished in small groups, but not those given to mixing-up, shifting, exiting and entering, randomly meeting, starting late, jumping around, endlessly in crisis over collective identity and disbanding over and over.
Please send along your experience with small groups to the address below. Droel’s booklet, Public Friendship, is distributed by National Center for the Laity (PO Box 291102, Chicago, IL 60629; $5)

“A solemn prayer for safety in construction”

Construction is a dangerous industry. Nearly one thousand construction workers lose their lives each year in workplace injuries. That’s why for ten years Father Patrick Jordan (chaplain to the New York building trades, and a Catholic Labor Network member) has celebrated an annual Memorial Mass for a congregation of construction workers in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. This year Fr. Jordan explained the service and reflected on this grim landmark in a guest submission to the New York Daily News.

Thursday marks the 10th Anniversary Memorial Mass for Deceased Construction Workers, better known as the Annual Hardhat Mass. At this mass in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, over which I will preside, all those killed on a construction site in New York City are remembered and revered — whether they be union or nonunion workers.

Chairs are placed in the upper sanctuary of the Cathedral with an engraved hardhat and a rose to signify each of the deceased workers who died from April 28 of the previous year till April 28 of the current year. At the end of the mass, the hardhat and the rose are given to the family members of each of the deceased workers.

This year, 19 chairs will be placed in the upper sanctuary of St. Patrick’s Cathedral…. Construction workers have one of the highest death and injury rates in the private sector throughout the entire United States. Yet the safety crisis they face rarely gets much attention.

I think I know why. The construction decedents are disproportionately likely to be immigrants and low-wage workers. With little economic leverage or protections, they are forced to take the most dangerous jobs. These workers seldom receive safety training as required by both New York state and federal law. Most of the nonunion workers were undocumented Latinos with little or no safety training. At the mass, all the deceased are remembered regardless of their status. We emphasize the dignity of each human person in the construction industry of New York City….

I hope and pray that the implementation of recent City Council legislation will  help make all nonunion workers safer. I also hope and pray that this necessary measure will reduce injuries and deaths in the New York City construction industry. I prefer to see fewer chairs in the sanctuary of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in next year’s Annual Hardhat Mass.

Those who risk their lives to build this city deserve to know that the law — and our elected leaders — are working to keep them safe.

To read “A solemn prayer for safety in construction” in its entirety, CLICK HERE

Georgetown, Grad Student Union Set Aside Legal Fight, Opt for New Labor Relations Model

Also: Loyola University Chicago, Adjuncts Settle First Contract

For some time, it has looked like the Georgetown University administration and its graduate student teaching and research assistants were headed for a legal showdown at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The students said they were university employees and wanted to vote on union representation in an NLRB-certified election; the University said they were not workers but students and not covered by the NLRB. It had all the makings of an ugly labor dispute.

The university felt confident it had the stronger legal argument and would prevail. But then administrators realized: even if we win the legal case, we are still bound by Catholic Social Teaching, and CST is pretty clear about workers’ right to organize. Read more