CLN Holds Open Meetings on Revisioning and Renewal

This spring, the Catholic Labor Network is in a time of revisioning and renewal.  In this spirit, we held two open meetings to members and subscribers to our newsletter on March 2 and 5, seeking input from our supporters on priorities for the network.  We want to hear from the wider faith and labor community about what you value and what you hope to see continue, change, or increase in the next decade.

A total of 44 people attended these public meetings and actively participated through live polls and robust conversation.  The level of engagement was impressive and encouraging, as participants reiterated the important role CLN has to play on the national stage.  One long-time CLN member testified that our organization was “critical in his development as a labor leader,” even inspiring him to pursue graduate studies in ministry and theology.  The four polls addressed topics of membership, important (past) work of CLN, ideas for new projects, and organizational structure. Participants varied from dues-paying full members, affiliate members, Board members, and friends of CLN who are not dues-paying and the breadth of these perspectives proved helpful.

Of the important work mentioned, educating on Catholic Social Teaching (to both the faith and labor communities) as it relates to dignity of work ranked among the top of the list, followed by other projects including the newsletter, Catholic institution/employer accountability, campaign and organizing support, legislative and ecclesial advocacy, and convening listening sessions and liturgies for members. One member expressed that, for pastoral ministers such as himself, it was incredibly helpful to have “regular updates about how we might get engaged with different campaigns,” and particularly with “real campaigns that were going on right then, some of them within Catholic institutions.” He continued, “Making those connections for those of us who might be very committed to the teaching, but might not know any ‘handles’ for any particular campaigns at that moment” is vital and makes Catholic Social Teaching concrete.

Participants dreamed together of what new projects CLN could address if ample capacity were in place, and some of these propositions included creating local CLN chapters across the country, amplifying outreach to rural communities and outreach in Spanish to immigrant communities.  Participants also dreamed together of connecting members with local Central Labor Councils, coordinating Labor in the Pulpit for Labor Day, and regular communication with bishops about issues affecting workers and threatening the dignity of work in their diocese.

If you missed the March public meetings but would like to contribute your thoughts and recommendations, stay tuned for a forthcoming survey open to members and friends of CLN.