Catholic Labor Network hosts Priest-Labor Colloquium at annual assembly of the Association of US Catholic Priests

Pictured, left to right: Fr. Neil Pezzulo (Glenmary), Fr. Tuck Grinell (Diocese of Arlington), Fr. Randy Phillips (Archdiocese of Detroit), Fr. Jim Murphy (Diocese of Madison), UNITE HERE union members Jose Maquin and Uriel Perez-Espinoza, and Fr. Eugene Pocernich (Archdiocese of Milwaukee).

Last week the Catholic Labor Network was pleased to join the Association of US Catholic Priests (AUSCP) in Minneapolis for their annual assembly, and to offer a colloquium on Ministering to Workers in the Wake of COVID.

The colloquium featured testimony from two members of UNITE HERE Local 17, the union representing hotel workers in the Twin Cities. Jose Maquin, a worker represented by the union, and Uriel Perez-Espinoza, a former hotel worker now on the union’s staff, shared the devastating impact of the pandemic on hotel workers: the industry largely shut down at the beginning of the pandemic, leaving workers without a source of income or their employer-provided health insurance coverage. Mr. Maquin and Mr. Perez-Espinoza then took questions from the participants and the group enjoyed a lively discussion of the place of unions in Catholic Social Teaching.

Members of the AUSCP are deeply committed to the Church’s social doctrine; the organization intentionally picked a union hotel where they knew workers’ rights would be respected. Another highlight from the event was a group visit to the location where George Floyd was killed by a former Minneapolis police officer to listen to local voices, to pray and to reflect on racism in America.

Would you like to work with the Catholic Labor Network to organize a labor colloquium for priests or lay leaders in your community? Contact [email protected]

2 replies
  1. Gallagher
    Gallagher says:

    Thanks for this. May I encourage you to add to your list
    Bob Lynn Jr., Toledo area coordinator of JOBS WITH JUSTICE.
    You might start with your AUSCP report, Bob knows I was a co-founder.
    email —> [email protected] . Keep on keeping on !
    Shalom, Tony Gallagher

  2. Kevin Vaughan
    Kevin Vaughan says:

    I live in Melbourne Australia, I have been a union member all of my working life and now in my 90th decade a life member of the United Firefighter Union. I am pleased to see that this CLN has included at the conference two workers who are able to speak of the realities faced by workers in the hotel industry. I am really pleased that you have treated this issue not as a social welfare question nor a theological issue but by including those two workers you have been able to keep your feet on the ground. Agreat effort and God Bless.
    In Christ Kevin Vaughan

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