A new generation of labor priests

A new generation of labor priests

Aug. 31, 2012 By Brian Roewe

Fr. Ty Hullinger (left) listens to fellow priests May 22 during the first Priest Laborer Social Justice Continuing Formation meeting in Chicago. (NCR photo/Brian Roewe)

On July 23, housekeepers and other workers at Hyatt Hotels began a global boycott of the hotel chain. Citing unjust hiring practices, unfair wages and unsafe working conditions, the workers have marched, picketed and petitioned organizers and travelers to join them. At many of these demonstrations, standing by the workers’ sides were Catholic priests.

In Washington, it was Fr. Clete Kiley, director of immigration policy at UNITE HERE, the union representing Hyatt workers. In Baltimore, it was Fr. Ty Hullinger and Fr. Patrick Besel.

UNITE HERE workers protest outside of the Park Hyatt Hotel in downtown Chicago in 2009. (EPA/Kamil Krzaczynski)The priests aligned with the Hyatt workers and other industry workers represent a new generation of labor priests — pastors who preach not only for a just working environment for their parishioners, but stand beside them in their struggle. Read more