Catholics must take a stand in support of Walmart employees

Catholics must take a stand in support of Walmart employees

Guest blog

It would be hard to compete with Pharaoh in the realm of obduracy, but Walmart is giving the old man a run for his money. Like the Israelite brick makers of Exodus Chapters 5-11 Walmart workers, organized as OUR Walmart, are asking for respect—specifically, increasing the flexibility of working hours, moving up to full-time work when possible, and increasing pay to a minimum of $25,000 annually.

In addition they are calling for an end to retaliation against associates involved in OUR Walmart and its mini-strikes, like last year’s Black Friday. More than 100 alleged Walmart retaliation cases are pending at the National Labor Relations Board.

Since Memorial Day, hundreds of courageous Walmart associates have walked off the job and are now caravanning together to bring their concerns to Walmart’s June 7 shareholder meeting in Bentonville, Arkansas. They will demand an end to retaliation against associates who organize and hope to begin a dialogue on scheduling and wages at a time when Walmart CEO Mike Duke makes $20.7 million per year—more than 1,000 times the wages of the average Walmart associate. Continue reading “Catholics must take a stand in support of Walmart employees”

What can the church do for worker justice in America?

What can the church do for worker justice in America?

U.S. employers routinely violate the seventh commandment when they refuse to pay their workers their legally mandated wages.

Growing up in what she describes as a “pretty conservative church background” in Ohio, Kim Bobo excelled at memorizing her Bible verses. “I won all the contests,” she remembers. “It has served me well in my life. You can’t really know the scriptures and not realize their core commitment to caring for our neighbor. My life has been about trying to figure out how I play a role in helping people and how I can do that in the most effective way possible.”

Throughout her career, which has included stints as an organizer for Bread for the World, as the “church lady” in a training center for organizers, and as the founder and director of Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ), Bobo has consistently worked to energize faith communities in the pursuit of social justice.

She first got pulled into her current focus on workers’ rights when she helped organize religious support for the 1989-90 Pittston Coal miners’ strike. That experience planted the seed that eventually—with the help of Chicago’s legendary Msgr. Jack Egan—led to the founding of IWJ. Continue reading “What can the church do for worker justice in America?”

Reflection of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin to mark Workers Memorial Day 2010

Reflection of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin to mark Workers Memorial Day 2010

PRESS RELEASE
28 April 2010

Reflection of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin at Ceremony of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions in Dublin Castle to mark Workers Memorial Day 2010

People are at the heart of a modern economy.  A knowledge-based economy is driven, above all, by the creativity and capacity and innovation of people.    Investment in people is therefore the most significant long-term investment in building a solid economy.A people-centred approach to economy will also be one which does not separate economy and society.  Human creativity best emerges from a society where participation is fostered; human creativity best emerges from a society which invests in a focussed way in human capacity and talent.  A healthy society is one which invests in its people at every stage of their lives.

People are the natural wealth of any society and every person, young or old, should be enabled as far as possible to bring their contribution to society at the highest possible level for as long as possible.  Poverty is the inability to achieve God given talent.  It is not just lack of monetary ability.    Continue reading “Reflection of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin to mark Workers Memorial Day 2010”