BISHOP JOSEPH F. MARTINO REFUSES TO RECOGNIZE A CATHOLIC TEACHERS LABOR UNION

BISHOP JOSEPH F. MARTINO REFUSES TO RECOGNIZE A CATHOLIC TEACHERS LABOR UNION

The Catholic Church has a long tradition of supporting workers' right to organize. Popes have written about the rights of worker unions, bishops councils have proclaimed the fundamental right of workers to organize into unions and the Catholic church has consistently supported the right of workers to organize as a labor union.

The Second Vatican Council expressed this right like this:

"Among the basic rights of the human person is to be numbered the right of freely founding unions for working people. They should be able truly to represent them and to contribute to the organizing of economic life in the right way. Included is the right of freely taking part in the activity of these unions without risk of reprisal. Through this orderly participation joined to progressive economic and social formation, all will grow orderly participation joined to progressive economic and social formation, all will grow day by day in the awareness of their own function and responsibility, and thus they will be brought to felt hat they are comrades in the whole task of economic development and in the attainment of the universal common good according to their capacities and aptitudes."
Gaudium et Spes Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Second Vatican Council, 1965

So, how do we Catholics explain the conduct of Bishop Joseph F. MARATINO Martino of Pennsylvania in his opposition to the Catholic schools teacher’s union? It seems that after the closure in 2007 of some of the diocesan schools and consolidation of others, diocesan officials were clear that the teacher’s union would be recognized in the restructure of the Catholic schools. But, last January bishop Martin changed his mind and announced he would no longer recognize the teachers association and instead implemented a non union "employees relations" program. In addition, the good bishop refused to even meet with union representatives and refused to answer questions about it from the media. Does that sound like traditional Catholic teaching or does it sound more like the CEO of a big corporation trying to break a union? Does that sound like a the spiritual leader of a church dealing with fellow Catholic laborers to you or rather like one of the corporate union breakers of the 1920's?

According to the National Catholic Reporter(11/28/08) the dispute has moved to the state legislature. A Catholic legislator Eddie Day Pashinski is supporting the union and during a hearing pointed out that the Vatican has a labor union. However, last month the teacher’s association lost its Vatican appeal about Martino’s refusal to recognize them. Apparently the Vatican's centuries of pronouncements about the right of workers to organize and worker's rights also apply only when it doesn't involve it's own church's.

The way I see it, the teachers are Catholic’s teaching in a Catholic school. The history of the Church has been to consistently speak out in favor of workers to organize and represent themselves in dealing with management. But, apparently not in Bishop Martino’s diocese and not when it’s his pocket book. Hypocrisy is the great sin of church leaders of this generation.

One thought on “BISHOP JOSEPH F. MARTINO REFUSES TO RECOGNIZE A CATHOLIC TEACHERS LABOR UNION

  1. Well they might want to close the Rectory first and send all the priests into the streets without any money. So closing the schools was due to low enrollment or was it done as legalistic maneuver? Soon the church will need missionaries to the United States.

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