Sign-on Statement in Support for Service Workers at Catholic Colleges and Universities

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Catholic Scholars for Worker Justice is an international association of scholars who are committed to Catholic Social Teaching on workers’ rights. We were founded to proclaim the Church’s extremely welcoming attitude to unions in the workplace and to support workers in both Catholic and secular workplaces who seek to form unions.

Catholic Scholars for Worker Justice is pleased to issue a Statement of Support for service workers at Catholic colleges and universities in the United States and Canada. We urge service workers to form unions to bargain collectively for fair wages, job security, health and retirement benefits and other improvements to the workplace that befit their dignity as human beings and creatures of God. We call upon the Trustees and administrators at Catholic colleges and universities to support their employees—as direct or indirect employers--as the workers assert the right to free association that is rooted in the natural moral law and that serves as the cornerstone of Catholic Social Teaching on workers’ rights.

Support for labor unions enjoys a long history in the Catholic Church. Beginning in the medieval period and especially since the publication of Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical Rerum Novarum (1891), the Church has given exceptional support for labor unions and the Popes—from Leo to Benedict XVI—have encouraged workers to form unions. The official teaching of the Catholic Church as found in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church (2004) holds that labor unions exert a "positive influence for social order and solidarity, and are therefore an indispensable element of social life." (#305) The Church further teaches that, "The Magisterium recognizes the fundamental role played by labor unions to defend the vital interests of workers employed in the various professions." (#305) [For a complete understanding of Catholic teaching on labor unions see the Chapter 6 of the Compendium, "On Human Work" pp. 115-140. See also CSWJ’s Foundational Statement that is posted on our website.] In addition, in 1986 the Catholic Bishops of the United States stated: "The Church fully supports the right of workers to form unions or other associations to secure their rights to fair wages and working conditions…No one may deny the right to organize without attacking human dignity itself." (Economic Justice for All, 1986, #104)

Unfortunately, Catholic Scholars for Worker Justice has encountered all too many Catholic institutions that choose to respond to an organizing drive by immediately seeking recourse to the civil law or to outside "union avoidance" specialists in order to neutralize, or to delay, or to discourage workers from forming a union. In Catholic teaching the civil law only has legitimacy if it is rooted in the natural moral law. Hence, we urge the trustees and administrators at Catholic colleges and universities in the United States to consult the natural moral law that is found in Catholic Social Teaching as a first course of action in this matter.

We call upon all stakeholders at Catholic institutions—students, parents, faculty, administrators, trustees, and vendors--to support service workers as they challenge all of us to fulfill the words of Jesus in Matthew 25:

"Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of these the least of my family, you did it to me."

The following members and colleagues of Catholic Scholars for Worker Justice support this statement on behalf of service workers at Catholic Colleges and Universities:

Institutions for identification purposes only


Joseph J. Fahey, Ph.D. Manhattan College
Chair, Catholic Scholars
for Worker Justice

Joe Holland, Ph.D. St. Thomas University
Vice-Chair, Catholic Scholars
for Worker Justice

Mary Priniski, O.P., Ph.D. Vice-Chair, Catholic Scholars
for Worker Justice

Patrick Sullivan, C.S.C., Ph.D. The Labor Guild
Executive Secretary, Catholic Scholars
for Worker Justice

Louise Akers, S.C., Ph.D. Office of Peace, Justice & Integrity of Creation

Jerome Baggett, Ph.D. University of Santa Clara

Gerald J. Beyer, Ph.D. St. Joseph’s University

Raymond Decker, Ph.D. Retired, Archdiocese of San Francisco

Robert DeFina, Ph.D. Villanova University

Teresa Ghilarducci, Ph.D. The New School for Social Research

David Gregory, J.D., Ph.D. St. John’s University School of Law

James A. Gross, Ph.D. Cornell University

Brian Jordan, O.F.M., D. Min. Labor Priest

Father Thomas Massaro, S.J., Ph.D. Boston College

Joseph McCartin, Ph.D. Georgetown University

Sharon McGuire, O.P., Ph.D. Siena Heights University

David O’Brien, Ph.D. University of Dayton

John O’Brien, C.P., Ph.D. Blessed John XXIII National Seminary

William Quigley, J.D. Loyola University of New Orleans

Jeannette Rodriguez, Ph.D. Seattle University

Les Schmidt, M.A. Labor Priest

Terrence Tilley, Ph.D. Fordham University

John Trumpbour, Ph.D. Harvard Law School

Martin Wolfson, Ph.D. University of Notre Dame


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Mark J. Allman, PhD Merrimack College

Judi Bachay, PhD. St. Thomas University

William Barbieri, Jr, Ph.D. Catholic University of America

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Peter Beisheim, Ph.D. Stonehill College

Peter Beisheim, Ph.D. Stonehill College

Gerald J. Beyer, Ph.D. Saint Joseph's University

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Alec Brownlow, Ph.D. DePaul University

Cecelia Bucki, Ph.D. Fairfield University

Barbara Buzzi, Ph.D. St. Thomas University

James Caccamo, Ph.D. Saint Joseph's University

Don Carroll, J.D. Univ. of San Francisco School of Law

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Meghan Clark, PhD Saint Anselm College

Carol Coburn, Ph.D. Avila University

Robert Cooke, Masters

Thomas Cornell, D.L.H. The Catholic Worker

Gillian Crozier, PhD Loyola University, Chicago

Winifred Curran, PhD DePaul University

Jane Currie,  Loyola University Chicago

Catherine C. Darcy, Ph.D, J.C.D. Diocese of Camden

Kasturi Rumu DasGupta, Ph.D. Georgian Court University

Maria Davila, Ph.D. Andover Newton Theological School

Daniel Di Domizio, Ph.D. Cardinal Stritch University

John Donoghue, Ph.D. Loyola University Chicago

Patrick Eccles, MA Loyola University Chicago

Stephen Ellis, PhD University of Oklahoma

Kathleen Farrell, Ph.D. Saint Louis University

Tom Feamster, MDiv University of the South

Donald Fishman, Ph.D. Boston College

John Flipsen, 3rdyear theology Retirees

Camilla Fojas, Ph.D. DePaul University

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Burt Fulmer, Ph.D. Christian Brothers University

Edward Gaffney Gaffney, JD, LLM, STL Valparaiso University

Julie Glasier, B.A.

Susan Grossman, Ph.D. Loyola University

edward gumz, Ph.D. loyola University Chicago

Euan Hague, Ph.D. DePaul University

Alan Hartman, MA Mercy College

Jane Harty, Doctor of Musical Arts Pacific Lutheran Univ

John F. Haught, Ph.D. Woodstock Theological Center Georgetown University

Jacqueline Heckman, M.A. Loyola University Chicago

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Sungsoon Hwang, Ph.D DePaul University

david Ingram, PhD Loyola University Chicago

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Suzanne Kaufman, Ph.D. Loyola University Chicago

Raymond Kemp, Ph.D. Woodstock Theological Center Georgetown University

Amy Kessel, MA Loyola University Chicago

Diane Krantz, Ph.D. Weber State University

Marilyn Krogh, PhD Loyola University Chicago

Ian M. Langella, PhD Shippensburg University

Lauren Langman, Ph.D Loyola University of Chicago

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Courtney Lokken, M.A. Loyola University Chicago

Doug Long,  DePaul University

Edmondo Lupieri, L.L.C., Lic. Loyola University Chicago

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Felix Masud-Piloto, Ph.D. DePaul University

Tom Matyok, PhD The Univ of North Carolina at Greensboro

Tom Matyok, PhD The Univ of North Carolina at Greensboro

Tom Matyok, PhD The Univ of North Carolina at Greensboro

Eugene McCarraher, Ph.D. Villanova University

Patrick McHaffie, Ph.D DePaul University

Ivan Medina, Masters Loyola University Chicago

Kelly Moore, Ph.D. Loyola-Chicago

John Morris, O.P. Th.D. Saint Mary's College of California

Sunjukta Mukherjee, Ph.D. DePaul University

Bren Murphy, PhD Loyola University Chicago

Fr. James Murphy, S.J., PhD Loyola University Chicago

Heidi Nast, Ph.D. DePaul University

Jon Nilson, PhD Loyola University Chicago

Bernard Offferman, Ph.D. Johnson C. Smith University

Liesl Orenic, PhD Dominican University

Jennifer Parks, Ph.D. Loyola University of Chicago

Peter C. Phan, Ph.D. Georgetown University

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Mark Potter, PhD California Province, Society of Jesus

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Kimberly Redigan, M.A. University of Detroit Jesuit High School

Heidi Russell, Ph.d. Loyola University Chicago

Richard Schmidt, Master of Arts Cardinal Stritch University

David Schweickart, Ph.D. Loyola University Chicago

Robert A. Senser, bachelor of science Human Rights for Workers

Kelly Silay,  Loyola University Chicago

Patricia Simpson, Ph. D. Loyola University Chicago

Patricia Simpson, Ph. D. Loyola University Chicago

Maureen Sioh, PhD DePaul University

George Skau, Ph. D. Bergen Community College

Andrew Skotnicki, Ph.D. Manhattan College

Chris Skrable, M.A. Loyola University Chicago

John Sniegocki, Ph.D. Xavier University

Kathryn Getek Soltis, Ph.D. Villanova University

donald c. swift, ph.d edinboro univ. of pa

Lourdes Torres, Ph.D. DePaul University

Julie Ward, PhD Loyola University

Elfriede Wedam, Ph.D. Loyola University Chicago

Tobias Winright, Ph.D. Saint Louis University

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     Catholic Scholars for Worker Justice
     Phone: 781.340.7887
     Fax: 781.340.5885