The Catholic Labor Network http://catholiclabor.org Washington, DC Tue, 30 Jun 2020 17:09:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.2 The Evolution of Catholic Social Ethics by Fr. Frank Colborn http://catholiclabor.org/2020/06/the-evolution-of-catholic-social-ethics-by-fr-frank-colborn/ http://catholiclabor.org/2020/06/the-evolution-of-catholic-social-ethics-by-fr-frank-colborn/#respond Tue, 30 Jun 2020 17:09:18 +0000 http://catholiclabor.org/?p=3909 A guest contribution from Fr. Juan Romero

I invite Catholic Labor Network members to check out Fr. Frank Colborn’s  The Evolution of Catholic Social Ethics From the Palaeolithic to Pope Francis, recently published by WIPF & STOCK. In spite of its great breadth, the work is succinct at fewer than 200 pages.

Fr. Frank Colborn is an octogenarian priest of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles who did doctoral studies in Rome where he was ordained at the end of 1963. He is a classmate and friend who taught dogmatic theology in the seminary for several years. We were collaborators in parish ministry in ELA during the late ‘70s. His “street creds” include participating in the Chicano Moratorium (50 years ago!) joining 10,000 marchers protesting the disproportionate number of Mexican Americans killed in the battlefields of Southeast Asia. He was also an active supporter of the organizing efforts of Cesar Chavez and the UFW. He drafted a resolution in support of the Grape-Lettuce Boycotts signed by about twenty-five priests and published in a paid advertisement of the Archdiocesan newspaper THE TIDINGS. Fr. Frank was a strong promoter and participant in UNO, the broad-based community organization to which our parish (along with twenty plus others) participated. Moreover, we were members of the same Jesus Caritas priests’ support group that met together monthly for almost half a century in southern California. Fr. Frank founded our group. I admire and appreciate his talent for profound and clear thinking that he comfortably articulates in a comprehensible yet simple manner.

 

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Labor Apostle http://catholiclabor.org/2020/06/labor-apostle/ http://catholiclabor.org/2020/06/labor-apostle/#respond Thu, 25 Jun 2020 16:34:42 +0000 http://catholiclabor.org/?p=3844 The Working Catholic
by Bill Droel

There’s a new edition of Christian Socialism: An Informal History by John Cort (Orbis Books, 2020). Gary Dorrien of Union Theological Seminary provides its introduction. The book generally goes in chronological order from the New Testament onto the Church Fathers (East and West), then St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) and St. Thomas More (1478-1535). Henri de Saint-Simon (1760-1825) appears in a chapter about France and Most Rev. William Temple (1881-1944) in one about England. The chapter on Catholic socialism draws upon papal encyclicals, the thoughts of Msgr. John A. Ryan (1869-1945) of St. Paul and on liberation theology.

John Cort (1913-2006), a 1935 Harvard University graduate, served our country as a Peace Corps volunteer in Philippines, as a local director in the Office of Economic Opportunity and as a director of a municipal program. He is best known as founder of Association of Catholic Trade Unionists in February 1937.
In the 1940s the Communist Party controlled 15 major labor unions in the U.S. and had influence within others. Many blue-collar workers at the time were immigrant Catholics. If Catholicism was indifferent to the world of work, Cort reasoned, the door is open to communists to use unions for their ideological purpose. Thus ACTU would encourage Catholic workers to join unions and be active members, Cort said. It assisted with CIO membership drives, battled racketeers and sponsored labor schools where workers learned leadership skills and discussed Catholic social principles. At ACTU’s peak there were 5,500 members in 14 cities. Many ACTU chapters published hard-hitting newspapers.
ACTU was controversial. Some Catholics accused it of cooperating with communism. The greater criticism came from the other end: ACTU was a voting-block within union locals, so fixated on anti-communism that it turned a progressive labor movement hopelessly rightward. Indeed, a few ACTU chapters got so obsessed with communism that they lost ACTU’s original purpose. Cort repeatedly said that the U in ACTU stood for unionists, not unions. He did not advocate Catholic trade unions or Catholic political parties, as sometimes occurred in Europe. Catholics display their faith in public life simply by being good unionists–or in other examples, good politicians, good civil servants, good nurses, good teachers. The workers in ACTU met outside their job site with fellow Catholics for mutual support, spiritual formation and instruction on social doctrine. Communists in the 1930s and 1940s were not socialists or progressive prophets who planted seeds of reform, said Cort. They were Stalinists who denied the spiritual life and who jeopardized national security. ACTU, Cort insisted, “was a progressive organization most of whose leaders and members were dedicated to honest democratic trade unionism.” Thus for Cort non-violence was a non-negotiable religious principle. No exceptions.
Only in the 1970s did Cort publicly call himself a socialist. But he was clear that socialism is not crazy radicalism, not totalitarianism and not communism. For Cort it came from a vision of society based on religious principles, not on Marxism. The vision is sketched in Catholic social encyclicals and develops through the efforts of ordinary Catholics, in cooperation with like-minded colleagues, to improve policies in their workplace and their community. By the way, these encyclicals—from 1891 to 2000—equally critique total systems like communism and unrestricted systems like neoliberal capitalism. Cort gave an example. A 1937 encyclical by Pope Pius XI (1857-1939) was, of course, published in Latin. It is often titled in English as On Atheistic Communism. “I analyzed this encyclical and found that one-quarter of it is devoted to the evils of communism and three-quarters are devoted to the evils of capitalism,” he said. “It might well have been entitled On Atheistic Capitalism.

For those not interested in the history lessons contained in Cort’s Christian Socialism, get a used copy of Cort’s autobiography, Dreadful Conversions (Fordham University Press, 2003). It is terrific spiritual reading.
St. Basil (329-379) gives “the best and shortest summary of Catholic social teaching,” Cort was fond of saying. “The coat that hangs in your closet belongs to the poor.”

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

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Seafarers stranded by coronavirus http://catholiclabor.org/2020/06/seafarers-stranded-by-coronavirus/ http://catholiclabor.org/2020/06/seafarers-stranded-by-coronavirus/#respond Thu, 25 Jun 2020 15:22:09 +0000 http://catholiclabor.org/?p=3901 At any given time, about one million workers are working onboard the world’s merchant fleet, most of them hailing from the global South, especially South and Southeast Asia. These mariners have been uniquely impacted by the pandemic: with so many nations shutting their doors to foreigners they are trapped on board ships for many months at a time, denied shore leave. Worse, they cannot be relieved. Normally these workers serve out their contract and then disembark and fly to their homes for time with their families, but both the receiving countries and their home countries are putting obstacles in the way of their entry out of coronavirus fears.

Last week Pope Francis drew attention to their plight, thanking mariners for their sacrifices during the pandemic in a video addressed to the world’s seafarers:

In these past months, your lives and your work have seen significant changes; you have had to make, and are continuing to make, many sacrifices. Long periods spent aboard ships without being able to disembark, separation from families, friends and native countries, fear of infection… All these things are a heavy burden to bear, now more than ever.

I would like to say something to all of you. Know that you are not alone and that you are not forgotten. Your work at sea often keeps you apart from others, but you are close to me in my thoughts and prayers, and in those of your chaplains and the volunteers of Stella Maris.

“Enough is enough,” says Fr. Sinclair Oubre, spiritual moderator of the Catholic Labor Network and a member of the Seafarers International Union who ministers to mariners in Port Arthur, Texas. “If countries can’t figure out how to accommodate crew changes they should learn to live without the oil, computers, cars and other commodities that mariners bring them.”

 

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Immigration Win in Supreme Court http://catholiclabor.org/2020/06/immigration-win-in-supreme-court/ http://catholiclabor.org/2020/06/immigration-win-in-supreme-court/#respond Thu, 25 Jun 2020 14:31:09 +0000 http://catholiclabor.org/?p=3898 The nation’s labor unions strive to represent all workers, whatever their immigration status, and include as members many mixed-status families. For this reason the AFL-CIO welcomed the recent Supreme Court decision that preserved the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka greeted the news as “a victory for all working people”:

Today’s Supreme Court’s decision on DACA is a victory for all working people and a testament to the tenacity and vision of immigrant youth whose leadership made it possible. For years, hardworking Dreamers, and their families and supporters, have fought for the simple right to live and work without fear in our country. With this decision, the Supreme Court allowed working people to move forward with our fight to bring equal rights and protections to all workers, regardless of our race or place of birth…

Our entire workforce has benefited from DACA, and those benefits will now continue. This program helps to raise wages, support a stable workforce and reduce exploitation in our country.  The lessons of DACA make clear that the right way to protect workers is by expanding rights and protections, rather than ramping up enforcement tactics that spread fear in our workplaces and communities. Dreamers’ contributions have been vital for this nation, including on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, and America’s unions will continue to stand proudly with them in the struggle for justice by working to secure long overdue immigration reforms.

The DACA program covers those undocumented immigrants brought here as children; many of them have no memories of their countries of origin and identify only as American. Under DACA, these children (often known as “dreamers”) are given provisional status and permitted to work and study; they are considered a low priority for immigration enforcement, and most DACA supporters hope that an eventual comprehensive immigration reform will secure them a permanent legal status.

The White House sought to eliminate the DACA program, established under President Obama, but the Court found that the administration had not provided sufficient legal justification for the radical change in immigration enforcement. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops, which had submitted an amicus brief supporting the “Dreamers,” similarly hailed the ruling and urged the president to reconsider its plans to terminate DACA:

We welcome the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision noting that the Trump Administration did not follow proper administrative procedures required to repeal the DACA program.

First, to DACA youth, through today’s decision and beyond, we will continue to accompany you and your families. You are a vital part of our Church and our community of faith. We are with you.

Next, we urge the President to strongly reconsider terminating DACA. Immigrant communities are really hurting now amidst COVID-19 and moving forward with this action needlessly places many families into further anxiety and chaos. In times of uncertainty, let us remember the teachings of the Gospel which encourage us to be open and receptive to those in need: ‘If someone who has worldly means sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion, how can the love of God remain in him?’ (1 John 3:17). In this moment, we must show compassion and mercy for the vulnerable.

Lastly, we strongly encourage our U.S. Senators to immediately pass legislation that provides a path to citizenship for Dreamers. Permanent legislative protection that overcomes partisanship and puts the human dignity and future of Dreamers first is long overdue.

The nation’s labor movement and the American Church continue to strive for a comprehensive immigration reform, one that will include earned citizenship for otherwise law-abiding undocumented immigrants who have contributed to the nation with their labor.

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NLRB Withdraws Protection from Catholic College Faculty; Saint Xavier University Busts Faculty Union http://catholiclabor.org/2020/06/nlrb-withdraws-protection-from-catholic-college-faculty-saint-xavier-university-busts-faculty-union/ http://catholiclabor.org/2020/06/nlrb-withdraws-protection-from-catholic-college-faculty-saint-xavier-university-busts-faculty-union/#respond Mon, 15 Jun 2020 17:56:17 +0000 http://catholiclabor.org/?p=3892 Under the National Labor Relations Act, most private-sector workers in the United States enjoy the protection of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) when they seek to form a union. If their employer fires or writes them up for supporting the union, they can get relief from the Board; if a majority of workers votes for a union, the Board certifies them as the representatives and the employer is obliged to negotiate a contract. Although these protections are stronger on paper than in practice, they do exist.

That is, unless you teach at a religious college or university. On June 10 the NLRB reversed a previous decision (Pacific Lutheran) holding that adjunct faculty outside of religion and theology departments had a legally protected right to organize in unions. In Bethany College, the Board ruled that the school’s religious identity shields them from legal consequences if they fire union supporters or refuse to bargain with a union formed by the adjunct faculty. This does not forbid workers from forming a union and bargaining, but whether their efforts succeed now depend largely on the goodwill of the employer.

How will Catholic colleges and universities respond? Catholic social teaching hasn’t changed – Catholic doctrine has taught that workers have the right to organize since Pope Leo’s Encyclical Rerum Novarum in 1891, and the US Bishops stated clearly that this right extends to employees of Catholic institutions in their 1986 Pastoral Letter Economic Justice for All. But those Catholic institutions with unions – or with workers trying to organize – will surely be tempted to use their new legal impunity to dominate rather than bargain with their workers.

Indeed, some Catholic colleges such as Duquesne, Manhattan and Seattle University, have been refusing for years to bargain with union representatives elected by their adjuncts and invoking their religious freedom to do so. I fear that the NLRB decision will inspire those who have adhered to Catholic teaching and recognized adjunct unions heretofore to adopt the same line.

In a separate but related development, two weeks ago St Xavier University did just that. After 40 years of bargaining with a union representing full-time, tenured faculty, SXU announced that it would no longer do so. These workers were left unprotected by a different legal decision (Yeshiva, which ruled that tenured professors were managers, outside of the scope of the NLRA).

In the first reading last weekend, the feast of Corpus Christi, Moses explained that the LORD had let the Israelites wander in the desert so as to test their hearts, and learn whether they intended to keep his commandments (Deut 8:2). This NLRB decision has left Catholic college employees in a labor rights desert, but the test will be for college administrators: do they intend to manage their institutions in accordance with Catholic Social Teaching or not?

 

 

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Facilities Can No Longer Prohibit Shore Leave for Seafarers http://catholiclabor.org/2020/06/facilities-can-no-longer-prohibit-shore-leave-for-seafarers/ http://catholiclabor.org/2020/06/facilities-can-no-longer-prohibit-shore-leave-for-seafarers/#respond Tue, 09 Jun 2020 11:50:55 +0000 http://catholiclabor.org/?p=3881

Fr. Sinclair Oubre on duty in the Panama Canal

A guest contribution from Fr. Sinclair Oubre, CLN Spiritual Moderator and member of the Seafarers International Union

In November of 2001, I took a job as the 12-4 AB on the MV Seabulk Challenge. I flew to Boston, and on arrival at the facility gate where the ship was discharging heating oil, I experienced the enhanced security procedures that were put in place after the attacks of September 11.

We sailed to Camden, New Jersey, loaded high-sulfur diesel at the Citgo facility, and then sailed into the Gulf of Mexico. We eventually docked at Kinder-Morgan in Houston, and began discharging our cargo.

On our arrival, the facility informed us that we were detained onboard because of “security.” A US-flagged ship crewed by US merchant mariners must have posed an extremely high security risk to the facility. Many of the crewmembers lived in Houston, and were prevented from seeing their wives and children in the 8 hours they had between watches.

The strange thing was that we watched tank trucks drive by the ship to go to the heart of the facility, load, and the depart.

As one crewmate stated in exasperation, “They want our oil, but they don’t want us.”

Jump forward almost 19 years, and the ability of US and foreign seafarers to access shore leave has finally been enshrined in US regulations.

The legislation was originally passed in the 2010 Coast Guard Authorization Act. Section 811 was simple:

“Each facility security plan approved under section 70103 ( c) of title 46, United States Code, shall provide a system for seamen assigned to a vessel at that facility, pilots, and representatives of seamen’s welfare and labor organizations to board and depart the vessel through the facility in a timely manner at no cost to the individual.”

This seems pretty straightforward, but billion-dollar companies could not figure out what the words “timely” and “no cost” meant. So began a ten-year regulatory process that finally guaranteed merchant mariners the right to shore leave when they arrive at US ports, assuming they have D-1 visas, and that no federal agency has restricted shore leave.

On June 1, 2020, the US Coast Guard regulations implementing section 811 finally came into force. Presently, foreign seafarers are restricted to their ships by company policies (concern that the seafarers will bring COVID-19 back to the ship), and CDC and CBP policies that restrict them to their ships during the pandemic. Once the pandemic ends, these restrictions will be lifted.

For thousands of US seafarers, though, no longer will they have to put up with arbitrary facility “security” polices.” Nor will they have to pay exorbitant transport fees to go from the gangway to the front gate.

For members of the members of the Sailors Union of the Pacific, the Seafarers International Union, the Marine Fireman’s Union, the Master, Mates & Pilots, the Marine Engineers Beneficiary Association, the American Maritime Officers, the Inland Boatman’s Union, and the thousands of non-union US merchant mariners, facilities will have to manage their visiting seafarers as well as they manage the ship’s cargo.

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Labor Leaders Respond to Floyd Killing http://catholiclabor.org/2020/06/labor-leaders-respond-to-floyd-killing/ http://catholiclabor.org/2020/06/labor-leaders-respond-to-floyd-killing/#respond Tue, 02 Jun 2020 13:26:50 +0000 http://catholiclabor.org/?p=3874 Labor leaders across the country are responding to the tragic death of George Floyd at the hands of police and reflecting on structural racism in the United States. Below find selections from some of their thoughts.

The AFL-CIO building, located a block away from the White House, was damaged during protests along with others on nearby streets. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka released a statement the next day.

My heart is heavy at the events of the past few days. I watched the video of George Floyd pleading for his life under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer. No person of conscience can hear Floyd’s cries for help and not understand that something is deeply wrong in America. What happened to George Floyd, what happened to Ahmaud Arbery, what happened to far too many unarmed people of color has happened for centuries…Racism plays an insidious role in the daily lives of all working people of color. This is a labor issue because it is a workplace issue. It is a community issue, and unions are the community. We must and will continue to fight for reforms in policing and to address issues of racial and economic inequality. We categorically reject those on the fringes who are engaging in violence and destroying property. Attacks like the one on the AFL-CIO headquarters are senseless, disgraceful and only play into the hands of those who have oppressed workers of color for generations and detract from the peaceful, passionate protesters who are rightly bringing issues of racism to the forefront….

The Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) represents workers who drive buses and operate subway systems; although about one in eight U.S. workers are African-American, more than one in four transit workers are. During the protests following Floyd’s death, several bus drivers, starting in Minneapolis, refused to transport police and arrested demonstrators. ATU President John Costa released a statement on the tragedy and on ATU members’ actions in the aftermath.

We are deeply disturbed and angered by the tragic death of George Floyd, an African-American who was held, handcuffed, on the ground by a white Minneapolis police officer who kneeled on Floyd’s neck as he pleaded, “I can’t breathe.” Those all-too-familiar words, first uttered by Eric Garner, an African-American who was suffocated during a 2014 arrest by a white New York police officer, come as a tragic reminder of the injustice inflicted on persons of color every day in the United States…    Furthermore, as our members – bus drivers – have the right to refuse work they consider dangerous or unsafe during the pandemic, so too Minneapolis bus drivers – our members – have the right to refuse the dangerous duty of transporting police to protests and arrested demonstrators away from these communities where many of these drivers live. This is a misuse of public transit…

The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) represents police officers in departments across the United States. Zealous defenders of their members, the FOP typically responds to charges of excessive force by police by urging a presumption of innocence. But the video of the Floyd killing inspired a swift denunciation by the police union.

Our thoughts and prayers today are with the friends and family of Mr. George Floyd, whose tragic death this week shocked and horrified our nation. Law enforcement officers are empowered to use force when apprehending suspects and they are rigorously trained to do so in order to have the safest possible outcome for all parties. Based on the bystander’s video from this incident, we witnessed a man in distress pleading for help. The fact that he was a suspect in custody is immaterial—police officers should at all times render aid to those who need it. Police officers need to treat all of our citizens with respect and understanding and should be held to the very highest standards for their conduct….

Interested readers should also visit the home pages of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists and the National Association of Building Trades Unions

 

 

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Church Leaders Respond to Floyd Killing http://catholiclabor.org/2020/06/church-leaders-respond-to-floyd-killing/ http://catholiclabor.org/2020/06/church-leaders-respond-to-floyd-killing/#comments Tue, 02 Jun 2020 13:23:54 +0000 http://catholiclabor.org/?p=3870 Catholic Church leaders across the country are responding to the tragic death of George Floyd at the hands of police and reflecting on structural racism in the United States. Below find selections from some of their thoughts.

The video of George Floyd in police custody Monday evening is gut wrenching and deeply disturbing. The sadness and pain are intense. Let us pray for comfort for his grieving family and friends, peace for a hurting community and prudence while the process moves forward. We need a full investigation that results in rightful accountability and veritable justice.

Particularly at this time when human fragility has been brought into focus by the Covid-19 pandemic, we are called to respect the worth and dignity of each individual, whether they be civilians in need of protection or law enforcement officers charged with providing that protection. All human life is sacred. Please join our Catholic community in praying for George Floyd and his family, and working for that day when “love and truth will meet [and] justice and peace will kiss” (Psalm 85).

– Archbishop Bernard Hebda, Archdiocese of St Paul and Minneapolis.

In astonishment, we are seeing the reactions of people across the United States as they express feelings of frustration, hurt, and anger in their cry for justice for George Floyd, whom we painfully watched being suffocated in front of our eyes on video in Minneapolis, Minnesota this past week. Many of us remember similar incidents in our history that accompanied the Civil Rights Movement, where we repeatedly saw Black Americans viciously brutalized by police on television and in newspaper photos.  Those historic moments helped to rouse our national conscience to the African American experience in the United States and now, in 2020, we tragically still see repeated incidents of police brutality against African Americans.  We find ourselves in this national moment again with the awakening of our conscience by heartbreaking photos and video that clearly confirm that racism still endures in our country. On television and in social media, we are observing an overflow of pain felt acutely in the African American community and shared by too many other communities…. This moment calls us to be the Church of hope that Jesus Christ created us to be in a world full of pain and despair. We pray for a new Pentecost:  a renewal of love, justice and truth in our hearts.  We are called to do justice and love goodness in order to walk humbly with God….

– Archbishop Wilton Gregory, the Archdiocese of Washington.

[The Catholic Labor Network is based in the Archdiocese of Washington; Archbishop Gregory is one of a handful of African-American bishops. CLICK HERE to read Archbishop Gregory’s statement in its entirety.]

The killing of George Floyd was senseless and brutal, a sin that cries out to heaven for justice. How is it possible that in America, a black man’s life can be taken from him while calls for help are not answered, and his killing is recorded as it happens?

I am praying for George Floyd and his loved ones, and on behalf of my brother bishops, I share the outrage of the black community and those who stand with them in Minneapolis, Los Angeles, and across the country. The cruelty and violence he suffered does not reflect on the majority of good men and women in law enforcement, who carry out their duties with honor. We know that. And we trust that civil authorities will investigate his killing carefully and make sure those responsible are held accountable.

We should all understand that the protests we are seeing in our cities reflect the justified frustration and anger of millions of our brothers and sisters who even today experience humiliation, indignity, and unequal opportunity only because of their race or the color of their skin. It should not be this way in America. Racism has been tolerated for far too long in our way of life.

It is true what Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, that riots are the language of the unheard. We should be doing a lot of listening right now.

– Archbishop José H. Gomez of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Archbishop Gomez also serves as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

We are broken-hearted, sickened, and outraged to watch another video of an African American man being killed before our very eyes. What’s more astounding is that this is happening within mere weeks of several other such occurrences. This is the latest wake-up call that needs to be answered by each of us in a spirit of determined conversion.

Racism is not a thing of the past or simply a throwaway political issue to be bandied about when convenient. It is a real and present danger that must be met head on. As members of the Church, we must stand for the more difficult right and just actions instead of the easy wrongs of indifference. We cannot turn a blind eye to these atrocities and yet still try to profess to respect every human life. We serve a God of love, mercy, and justice….

This joint statement was issued by the Chairs of seven USCCB Committees, ranging from the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development to the Ad Hoc Committee on Racism to the Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

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Who is the Catholic Labor Network? Meet Catherine Orr, Social Ministry Coordinator http://catholiclabor.org/2020/05/who-is-the-catholic-labor-network-meet-catherine-orr-social-ministry-coordinator/ http://catholiclabor.org/2020/05/who-is-the-catholic-labor-network-meet-catherine-orr-social-ministry-coordinator/#respond Thu, 28 May 2020 14:04:24 +0000 http://catholiclabor.org/?p=3862 CLN Recording Secretary Catherine Orr also serves as Program Coordinator for the Roundtable Association of Catholic Diocesan Social Action Directors.

Catherine Orr has been working with marginalized communities for many years and has embodied the call of Catholic Social Teaching. While attending Marquette, she was doing a service learning project in which she worked at a group home for at-risk boys. She worked on anger management with the boys but was forbidden from mentioning anything related to religion, which she found difficult because forgiveness in foundational to all faith traditions. She wanted to continue to help the marginalized and the poor but wanted to make her faith a more explicit part of this work.  This led her to the Department of Living Justice in the Diocese of Green Bay where she became the diocesan director running the St. John the Evangelist Homeless Shelter, Inc. and the Micah Daytime Resource Center for people struggling with homelessness. During this time, she saw the struggles of immigrant workers in the local agricultural sector, which led her to become active in immigrant issues. She worked in coalition with farmers and community activists to fight for immigration reform.

Catherine and her family relocated to Youngstown, Ohio in August 2016, and while living there, she worked in the Social Action Office for Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Cleveland. During this time, she witnessed the mass layoffs at the Lordstown General Motors and saw the devastation on the community as economic security and dignity gave way to opioid abuse. While living in Youngstown, she became the Program Coordinator for the Roundtable Association of Catholic Diocesan Social Action Directors that operates out of a virtual office setting.  Her role is to support social action directors around the country in their ministerial efforts.

Two years later, Catherine and her family returned to southeastern Wisconsin, and she began ministering as the Pastoral Associate at Lumen Christi Parish in Mequon, a position she also continues to hold today. In all of her work, she sees dignified work as a fundamental aspect to Catholic Social Teaching, which continues to inspire and drive her ministry.

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America’s Unions List “Five Essentials” for Pandemic Recovery Legislation http://catholiclabor.org/2020/05/americas-unions-list-five-essentials-for-pandemic-recovery-legislation/ http://catholiclabor.org/2020/05/americas-unions-list-five-essentials-for-pandemic-recovery-legislation/#respond Thu, 28 May 2020 13:35:29 +0000 http://catholiclabor.org/?p=3857 Wednesday June 3 the AFL-CIO and its affiliated unions have organized car caravans in cities across the United States to focus on the essential needs of American workers as the pandemic continues. Many of these needs were addressed in the HEROES Act that passed the House of Representatives on May 15. We don’t yet know what the Senate’s sequel to the CARES Act will be, but the labor movement seeks to ensure that any new legislation includes measures to ensure the following:

  1. Keep Front-Line Workers Safe. This means that workers who are providing essential services to us during the pandemic have proper PPE and testing. OSHA must issue an Emergency Temporary Standard covering workplace safety during the pandemic.
  2. Keep Workers Employed and Protect Earned Pension Checks. The Paycheck Protection Program should be extended and we need to make sure it is used to protect jobs during the shutdown, not to boost stock prices. And we need to take action to protect current and future retirees whose pensions have been hit hard by the falling markets.
  3. Keep State and Local Governments, Our Public Schools and the US Postal Service Solvent and Working. The pandemic has blown a hole in state and local government and postal budgets. We cannot allow this to turn into mass layoffs that slash public services and further damage the economy.
  4. Keep America Healthy – Protect Health Insurance for All Workers. Millions of laid-off workers are losing their health insurance in the midst of a public health crisis. The government should step up to assume COBRA payments for these workers to prevent a new health catastrophe.
  5. Keep America Competitive – Hire People to Build Infrastructure. America needs substantial investments in roads, rail and bridges, while tens of millions are out of work. There will never be a better time to invest heavily in the upgrading of America’s transportation, communication and energy infrastructure.

These are indeed economic essentials if America is to recover stronger than ever from the covid pandemic. The Catholic Labor Network joins with the AFL-CIO in calling on the US Senate to address these issues in a sequel to the CARES Act.

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