WASHINGTON (USCCB) — Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, California, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, expressed his “support for and solidarity” with the Wisconsin bishops’ statement on the rights of workers.
In a February 23 letter to Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki of Milwaukee, Bishop Blaire wrote, “You and our brother bishops in Wisconsin are offering a timely reminder of what the Church teaches on the rights and duties of workers, including the right to form and belong to unions and other associations, and the obligation to address difficult problems with respect for the rights and needs of all. As you insist, ‘hard times do not nullify the moral obligation each of us has to respect the legitimate rights of workers.’”
“Catholic teaching and your statement remind us these are not just political conflicts or economic choices; they are moral choices with enormous human dimensions. The debates over worker representation and collective bargaining are not simply matters of ideology or power, but involve principles of justice, participation and how workers can have a voice in the workplace and economy.”
Recalling the teachings of Popes Benedict XVI and John Paul II on unions and the rights of workers, Bishop Blaire praised the Wisconsin bishops for consistently sharing the “teaching of the Church in the midst of this controversy” and made a call to everyone involved to overcome differences and put the common good first.
“We pray that the leaders and people of Wisconsin—and across our nation—will respond to your “appeal to everyone—lawmakers, citizens, workers, and labor unions—to move beyond divisive words and actions and work together, so that Wisconsin can recover in a humane way from the current fiscal crisis.”