Father Tony Doesn’t Forget He Is Son of Union Members

Father Tony Doesn’t Forget He Is Son of Union Members

04/10/2011 Berry Craig

Father Tony Shonis includes the  the local central labor council on his pastoral rounds wherever the church sends him. Says Shonis:

“I come from a union family. Both of my parents retired with a pension from the union. My father was in the Bakery and Confectionery [Tobacco] Workers [and Grain Millers] union and my mother was in the old ILGWU [International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union, now UNITEHERE!]. From them, I learned what the union means to a working family and how civic minded union members are.”

A Pennsylvania native, Shonis is associate pastor at the Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church in Henderson, Ky., an old Ohio River town in the western end of the Bluegrass State. The Tri-County Labor Council meets in Henderson. Read more

A Catholic Framework for Economic Life


A Catholic Framework for Economic Life

“A Catholic Framework for Economic Life” offers ten key principles to help Catholics reflect on the values that should shape our participation in economic life. It was written by the bishops of the United States based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, papal encyclicals, the pastoral letter Economic Justice for All, and other statements of the U.S. Catholic bishops.

PDF Version

As followers of Jesus Christ and participants in a powerful economy, Catholics in the United States are called to work for greater economic justice in the face of persistent poverty, growing income-gaps, and increasing discussion of economic issues in the United States and around the world.  We urge Catholics to use the following ethical framework for economic life as principles for reflection, criteria for judgment and directions for action.  These principles are drawn directly from Catholic teaching on economic life. Read more

72 Percent in Support of Forming a Union!

SEIU Local 500 - Raising the standard of living for Maryland and Washington, DC workers and their families

Posted by christopherhoney on May 3, 2013


On Friday, May 3, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) counted the votes for the Georgetown University Adjunct Faculty Union election.

The vote was overwhelmingly in favor of the union, with 72% of the vote in support of forming a union.

“Universities across the country have been relying more and more on adjunct faculty over the last forty years,” said Kurt Brandhorst, an adjunct in the Georgetown philosophy department. “But the way adjuncts are viewed and treated has not changed to reflect this reality. This victory will help improve conditions at Georgetown, but because we are joining adjuncts at other institutions across the region, the implications go far beyond Georgetown.” Read more

Growing the Ranks of ‘Labor Priests’

By Barbara Doherty

Growing the Ranks of ‘Labor Priests’

For as long as working people have come together for better lives and working conditions, they have relied on clergy and religious leaders to bring a spiritual dimension and moral leadership to the movement—in mines, mills, fields and factories.

Now an effort is under way to reinvigorate the ranks of “labor priests” in the Catholic Church. This new network of labor priests aims to build a contemporary home for a century-old tradition of speaking out for workers’ rights and fighting against injustice alongside workers. Read more

Labor Day: A Spirituality of Work

“Work,” the Persian poet Gibran writes, “is love made visible.”

A spirituality of work is based on a heightened sense of sacramentality, of the idea that everything that is, is holy and that our hands consecrate it to the service of God. When we grow radishes in a small container in a city apartment, we participate in creation. When we sweep the street in front of a house, we bring new order to the universe. When we repair what has been broken or paint what is old or give away what we have earned that is above and beyond our own sustenance, we stoop down and scoop up the earth and breathe into it new life again. When we compost garbage and recycle cans, when we clean a room and put coasters under glasses, when we care for everything we touch and touch it reverently, we become the creators of a new universe. Then we sanctify our work and our work sanctifies us. Read more

Labor Unions and the Church

Labor Unions and the Church

This article appeared inThe Catholic Worker, May, 2010 pages 1, 7
By Joseph J. Fahey

PDF Version of this Commentary


In 1949 Cardinal Francis Spellman used New York archdiocesan seminarians to break a strike by gravediggers at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorne, N.Y. Spellman alleged that the workers had come under the influence of Communist agitators and that he was “proud” to “be a strikebreaker.” The Catholic Worker supported the strike and Dorothy Day wrote a letter to the Cardinal stating that, “Of course you know that a group of our associates at the Catholic Worker office in New York have been helping the strikers both in providing food for their families and in picketing…” Later, Dorothy lamented an “ill-advised” Spellman who “exercised so overwhelming a show of force against a handful of poor working men.”

This is not an isolated instance of union busting by Church officials in the United States and, sadly, some Catholic employers continue to harass, intimidate, and fire employees who seek to join or form unions today. In 2008, for example, the (now resigned) Bishop of Scranton busted the long standing Scranton Diocese Association of Catholic Teachers by restructuring his school system and thus refused to negotiate with the union. In addition, there are all too many examples of Catholic schools and universities and Catholic hospitals that spend large sums of money to employ “union avoidance” firms that openly brag about their stellar track records in “union prevention in the workplace.” Read more




The long-running battle over “right-to-work” (RTW)legislation reappeared recently in Indiana. The Indiana Chamber of Commerce, in a recent report, contends that the growth of realpersonal income in RTW states has been higher thanin non-RTW states. Their argument is thatRTW laws lead to lower wages in RTW states, which attracts businesses to locate in those states. The increased business presence leads to higher income growth, which in turn leads – in the longrun – to higher productivity and higher wages in the state.

We find the Chamber’s arguments unpersuasive. Obviously there are businesses that are attracted to low-wage areas, but in our current global economy it is a risky strategy for a state to think it can compete with workers in developing countries who are paid much less. Moreover, many companies reject the “low-road” approach of low wages and make location decisions on other criteria, like the quality of the work force, infrastructure, and quality of life. Read more

Fifty Years Ago in ‘America’: The Impact of ‘Pacem in Terris’

Fifty Years Ago in ‘America’: The Impact of ‘Pacem in Terris’

Tim Reidy | May 6 2013 – 12:45pm | 0 comments

In the May 4, 1963 issue of America the editors surveyed the impact of John XXIII’s encyclical on war and peace:

Initial reactions to Pope John’s encyclical Pacem in Terris quickly revealed areas in which its practical impact can be expected to make itself felt.

When the London Sunday Times hailed the document as “an act of leadership for which the world was longing,” it explained in part the torrent of editorial comment flooding the world press. A Rome daily, II Tempo, might speak peevishly of an “encyclical of enthusiasms, conceived under the sign of optimism and irenicism.” But the internationally respected Le Monde of Paris termed it rather “realistic, serene and confident of the future.” These qualities it saw as “reflecting the character of its author.” Read more