Catholic Labor Network Annual Conference

On Saturday Jan. 28, the Catholic Labor Network was able to hold its first Annual Conference since COVID struck. Dozens of workers, clergy and lay Church leaders came together to reflect on the events of 2022 and lift up Catholic Social Teaching on labor and work. The event was held in conjunction with the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering (CSMG), a larger event bringing together Catholic social justice activists sponsored by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development.

One panel at the Conference focused on the Church and worker justice. Ingrid Delgado of the USCCB offered a wrap-up of the legislative efforts to improve working conditions in 2022, such as the Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act. Jeffry Korgen discussed CLN participation in the synod process, and Michael Loconto of the Boston Labor Guild situated labor arbitration in the framework of Catholic Social Teaching.

A second panel reflected on labor struggles supported by the CLN in 2022. Participants heard testimony from several workers, including nurses who successfully won their fight for a union in two Catholic hospitals, and food service workers employed by multinational Sodexo who are organizing with UNITE HERE. The panel also explored the victory achieved by Washington DC’s domestic workers, who won a Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights in 2022.

The Conference concluded with a report by the CLN’s Aimee Mayer on events in Nashville and a keynote address by Fr. Tim Graff [pictured], who discussed his work as Labor Liaison for Cardinal Joseph Tobin in the Archdiocese of Newark.

The Catholic Labor Network thanks our union sponsors who made the conference possible! They were UNITE HERE, IAM, UAW, UFCW, LIUNA, APWU, USW, UNITE HERE Locals 11 and 450, AFSCME Council 31, the Baltimore-Washington Building Trades, the Federation of Catholic Teachers (OPEIU), and the New York City and Sabine, TX Central Labor Councils.