“Radical Solidarity with Working Families”

Bishops’ 2023 Labor Day Statement

Every year, the Chairman of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development issues a Labor Day statement. The statement reflects on conditions in the world in light of Catholic Social Teaching.

The current chair of the committee is Archbishop Borys Gudziak of the Ukrainian Archeparchy of Philadelphia. This year’s statement, Radical Solidarity with Working Families, cautiously greets our nation’s improving economic situation while reminding readers how many working Americans still cannot afford food, rent and health care. “We are called to join Jesus in his ministry to bring glad tidings to the poor,” he observes. “We must do more to support families.” The Archbishop urged legislators to act on the Child Tax Credit, paid family leave and access to affordable child care.

Most important, for trade unionists like myself, it was heartening to read an emphatic endorsement of Catholic teaching on labor unions:

Finally, the essential role labor unions can and often do play in society must be acknowledged and affirmed. As Pope Francis stated when meeting delegates from Italian trade unions, “… one of the tasks of the trade union is to educate in the meaning of labor, promoting fraternity between workers… Trade unions… are required to be a voice for the voiceless. You must make a noise to give voice to the voiceless” Unions should continue to be supported in their work that supports healthy, thriving families, especially those who are most in need, and encouraged in maintaining and increasing their focus on performing that critical role. Indeed, as Pope Francis has suggested, “there are no free workers without trade unions.”

CLICK HERE to read the statement in its entirety.