US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Special Section: Labor and Worker Justice

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In his encyclical Laborem Exercens (On Human Work), Pope John Paul II wrote that through work, people achieve fulfillment as human beings. Because of this, as a society, we must protect the dignity of workers and their rights for respect and fair wages in the workplace. These articles honor Labor Day, a national holiday set aside to celebrate the achievements of the labor movement and the contribution of each worker to the prosperity—both social and economical—of our nation.


Let's get organized: Domestic workers fight for their rights
Deemed indispensable by the families who hire them, why are domestic workers excluded from legal protection?

Labor pains: What Wisconsin tells us about Catholics and unions
Catholics have a long history of support for unions, but the recent protests in Wisconsin show how strained the relationship has become.

Dispatches from Decatur
Community is the first casualty in America's labor wars

The way we work
Change seems to be the only constant in what Americans do for a living and how they do it.

Inside a Bangladesh garment factory
Meet the woman who makes Walmart’s low-priced clothes. She works 10-hour days for $103 per month. And her factory is one of the good ones.



What can the church do for worker justice in America? An interview with worker advocate Kim Bobo
U.S. employers routinely violate the seventh commandment when they refuse to pay their workers their legally mandated wages.


Reader Surveys and Sounding Boards

Pay up
Putting a little more money in the pockets of workers earning the minimum wage can give the entire economy a raise. In Feedback, readers provide a cost-benefit analysis on increasing wages.

Is your faith working? A Labor Day survey on faith and work
When U.S. Catholic readers punch the clock, they don't forget that they are still on God's time, according to a Reader Survey in honor of Labor Day.


Essays and Columns

Power to the public workers
Should a librarian have any less of a right to unionize than an auto worker or a nurse?

Danger zone: Do our workplaces value human dignity?
Employers are falling down on the job when it comes to ensuring worker safety.

Rerum roots: A brief history of American Catholic support for unions
Cardinal James Gibbons' support for the Knights of Labor in the late 19th century helped lay the groundwork for Rerum Novarum.

Rerum Novarum: On the Condition of the Working Classes
Encyclical Letter of His Holiness Pope Leo XIII issued on May 15, 1891.

The true cost of our low-priced clothing
Buyer beware: That low-priced shirt might have cost someone their life.

We're sticking to the union
Don’t paint public workers as a public enemies; they’re just working for the common good.



It's almost Labor Day, and there's much work to be done!

A Catholic case for raising the minimum wage

Work should provide dignity, not death

Et tu, Brute? Unions take two more hits--this time from Catholic institutions

Catholics must take a stand in support of Walmart employees

Chicago workers march for higher wages

The new iDontwannaknowaboutit