Thoughts on Church Worker Justice by Don Pribor, CTA’s new Church Worker Justice Organizer. Pope Francis in his encyclical “Laudato
Church Workers deserve rights
Workers employed by our Church in the United States do not have the same rights as other U.S. workers; it is up to Catholics to make sure our institutions treat their workers justly. Loopholes in the law are often abused by employers and workers have no way to fight back within federal law. When faced with unjust conditions or fired for reasons that are illegal elsewhere, like getting pregnant, expressing a belief in LGBT equality or unionizing, workers are told to keep silent or risk being blacklisted.
Some brave workers and their allies are speaking up. We are spreading the word about the conditions our teachers, social workers and lay ministers work under in order to follow their call. We connect workers to one another and to allies to hold our Church accountable to its own teachings about the dignity of work. Local campaigns are calling for nondiscrimination policies, transparency in hiring and finances, and an end to the fear of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell style workplaces. To get involved, contact us.
Workers joining together
Information is power and little is recorded about Church workers in general. We are working to change that by talking to workers, keeping track of abuses, and spreading the word about loopholes the public doesn’t know about. If you are employed by, or formerly employed by, a religiously affiliated entity like a school, hospital, charity or parish, contact us to talk confidentially.
We facilitate an informal network of Church workers and former church workers who support one another emotionally and inform our work advocating for the rights of all workers. To get involved, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The story of Ruth Kolpack, a fired church worker from Beloit, Wisconsin.
Our Catholic Church has a long history of supporting the rights of secular workers; unfortunately, its own employees are not treated with the same respect. Workers in Catholic hospitals, schools, charities and parishes face discrimination, union busting and instability and are often poorly compensated for their dedication and hard work. The institutional church has actively litigated to expand the religious exemptions that leave church workers without the protection of U.S. labor laws. Call To Action works with Church workers to advocate for fair personnel policies, discrimination protections, the right to organize and employment practices that respect the rights of workers.