Sign-on Statement in Support of the Employee Free Choice Act

Printable Version

We speak as scholars who are committed to Catholic Social Teaching concerning the human right of workers to organize employee unions. The Magisterium of the Catholic Church recognizes “the fundamental role played by labor unions, whose existence is connected with the right to form associations or unions to defend the vital interests of workers employed in the various professions.” Indeed, the Catholic Church holds that unions “are a positive influence for social order and solidarity, and are therefore an indispensible element of social life.” Because Catholic teaching is based on natural law, we believe the Church’s teachings have relevance not only to Catholic institutions but also to the broader civil society. Specifically, we hold the following:

     * The present legal and moral framework that is intended to assist workers to form unions is badly broken. Workers who seek to form unions are routinely met with employer resistance to their right to organize. Many employers intimidate, ostracize, or fire union organizers, deny free speech to workers on the job, threaten the loss of jobs and benefits, and hire “union avoidance” firms that – despite employers’ protests to the contrary – actively seek to prevent union elections from taking place at all. Present labor law is so weak that when elections actually take place many employers ignore the results with little impunity and when employers do bargain it can take years to reach a first contract, if at all.

     * There is an a priori presumption for unions in Catholic Social Teaching. Catholic teaching states that the right to organize unions is based on the human right of freedom of association that is found in the natural law. The right to organize belongs to the workers alone and cannot be abridged or annulled by civil or ecclesiastical authorities. The method or venue that workers choose to form a union is also their choice: workers may say yea or nay, stand or sit, sign statements or cards, or hold a secret ballot election. The right of workers to freely choose unions necessarily involves their right to decide how they shall decide for or against a union.

     * The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) is rooted in and supported by Catholic Social Teaching. The EFCA would: (1) Recognize the right of workers to join a union through filing signed cards – know as “card check” -- that state their decision to form a union; (2) mandate mediation and arbitration if a first contract cannot be negotiated within the first 90 days; (3) impose stronger penalties on employers that violate workers’ rights. Workers can also choose a secret ballot election if that is their choice. These provisions strongly reflect the Catholic position that the decision to form or join unions is always the workers’ choice. Most importantly, the workers’ decision to unionize must not meet with hostility or resistance from employers.

More than 150 members and friends of Catholics Scholars for Worker Justice have signed their names to endorse our statement on the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA).


Joseph J. Fahey Professor of Religious Studies Manhattan College

Mary Priniski Chapter Prioress Adrian Dominican Sisters

Joe Holland Professor of Philosophy & Religion St. Thomas University of Florida

Thomas A. Kochan Professor of Management Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Louise Akers Coordinator of Office of Peace, Justice Sisters of Charity

Jerome P. Baggett Assoc. Professor of Religion and Society Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley

Raymond G. Decker Pastor Emeritus Retired Priest, San Francisco

Teresa Ghilarducci Professor of Economics New School for Social Research

Jay Gonzalez Associate Professor of Politics University of San Francisco

David Gregory Dorothy Day Professor of Law St. John's University Law School

James A. Gross Professor of Labor Policy Cornell University

Father Brian Jordan Labor Priest, Director Holy Name Province Labor-Immigration Project

Peter J Judge Associate Professor of Religious Studies & Department Chair Winthrop University

Thomas Massaro, S.J. Professor of Theology Boston College

Maria Mazzenga Education Archivist/Historian Catholic University of America

Joseph A. McCartin Associate Professor of History Georgetown University

Sr. Sharon McGuire Associate Professor of Nursing Siena Heights University

Amata Miller Professor of Economics College of St. Catherine

David O'Brien Emeritus Professor of Catholic Studies College of the Holy Cross

John J OBrien Adjunct for Catholic Social Doctrine Blessed John XXIII National Seminary

William P. Quigley Professor of Law Loyola University College of Law

Patrick J. Sullivan Lecturer in Sociology King's College, Wilkes-Barre, PA

Terrence W Tilley Professor of Theology & Department Chair Fordham Univesity

John Trumpbour Research Director Harvard Law School

Martin Wolfson Director, Higgins Labor Studies Program University of Notre Dame


Stanislaus Alla, S.J. Fr Boston College

Mark J. Allman Assoc Prof of Relig & Theo Studies. Merrimack College

Charlotte Antal Theology Teacher Bishop Brady High School

Wilkie W. Au Professor, Theological Studies Loyola Marymount Unniversity

James Bailey Assistant Professor Duquesne University

William Barbieri Associate Professor of Catholic University of America

Michael Barram Associate Professor of Theology & Religious Studies Saint Mary's College of California

Karen A. Barta Dr. Seattle University

Jan Barthel Comm. Coordinator Mt. Tabor Benedictines

Peter H. Beisheim Professor of Religious Studies Stonehill College

Rosanne Belpedio Sister Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet

Roger Bergman Director, Justice & Peace Studies Program Creighton University

Gerald J. Beyer Assistant Professor of Theology Saint Joseph's University

Joseph Bracken Professor Emeritus of Theology Xavier University/Cincinnati

Jackie Brooks Assistant Professor of Sociology Xavier University

Brian Edward Brown Professor of Religious Studies Iona College

Michael J. Buckley, S.J. Bea Professr lof Theolgy university

Rachel Bundang Visiting Asst Prof of Theology & Ethics College of St. Catherine

Thomas F. Burke Doctoral Candidate Boston College

Dr. Russ Butkus Associate Professor of Theology and Environmental Studies University of Portland

Francine Cardman Assoc. Prof.-Historical Theology BC School of Theology and Ministry

Darryl Caterine Associate Professor of Religious Studies Le Moyne College

Lucas Chan student BC

Michael Childers Assistant Professor of Labor Education University of Wisconsin

Meghan Clark Teaching Fellow Boston College

Carol K. Coburn Professor of Religious Studies Avila University

Mrs. Debbie Cole Cashier/Sales Marburn Curtains Warehouse

David Conner none retired teacher

David Conner none retired teacher

Holly Taylor Coolman Assistant Professor Providence College

Catherine Cornille Associate Professor Boston College

Jeremy Cruz PhD Candidate Boston College

Mary D'Angelo Associate Professor University of Notre Dame

Kathleen Deignan Professor of Religious Studies Iona College, New Rochelle, NY

Daniel Di Domizio Professor, Religious Studies Cardinal Stritch University

Alexander A. Di Lella Professor Emeritus Catholic University of America

Peter S. Dillard Dr. Independent Scholar

John DMello Adjunct Faculty St. Vincent de Paul Seminary

James C. Doig Professor emeritus of Philosophy Clayton State University

Elizabeth A Drummond Assistant Professor of History Loyola Marymount University

Jason T. Eberl Associate Professor of Philosophy Indiana Univ.-Purdue Univ. Indianapolis

John P. Edwards Doctoral Candidate, Theology Boston College

Mary Elsbernd, OSF, Ph.D. Professor of Pastoral Studies and Social Justice Loyola University CHicago

L.Charisse Estes Data Specialist PMG Physicians Billing Office

Virginia Fenner Spiritual Director

Dan Finn Professor St. John's University, Collegeville, MM

Burt Fulmer Assistant Professor of Religion Christian Brothers University

Edward McGlynn Gaffney Professor of Law Valparaiso University

Joy Galarneau Assistant Director, Graduate Student Life Boston College

Dr. Sixto J. Garcia, Ph.d. Professor St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary

Peter R. Gathje Professor of Christian Ethics Memphis Theological Seminary

Kathryn Getek Teaching Fellow in Ethics Villanova University

Chris Gilbert Philosophy Instructor Cuesta College

Mark Graham Associate Professor of Theological Ethics Villanova University

James Gross Professor Cornell University

Kenneth R. Himes, OFM Associate Professor Boston College

Irene Jillson Assistant Professor Georgetown University

Kevin Johnson Doctoral Student Boston College

Laurie Johnston Assistant Professor Emmanuel College

Robert Kane University Distinguished Teaching Professor The University of Texas at Austin

John Karuvelil Doctoral student Boston College

James Keenan, S.J. Founders Professor in Theology Boston College

Kevin Kelley BA NERCC

Thomas Kelly Associate Professor Creighton University

Paul Knitter Paul Tillich Professor of Theology, World Religions, and Culture Union Theological Seminary

Joseph Kroger Professor of Religious Studis St. Michael's College

Mary Labarre MAPM Director University of Portland

Dr. Patricia Lamoureux Adjunct Professor, Philosophy & Religion Marist College

David Lampe Associate Professor of Biology Duquesne University

Stephen Lieb Retired/Substitute Bishop Carroll Catholic HS

Rebecca Luckett Student Mt. Sinai School of Medicine

George Lundy, S.J. Pastor, Catholic Student Center Southern University at Baton Rouge

Edmondo Lupieri Professor of Theology Loyola University Chicago

Richard Malloy, S.J. Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology Chestnut Hill College

Carlos Martins Rev. Companions of the Cross

Bryan Massingale Associate Professor of Theology Marquette University

Robert Masson Dr. Marquette University

Tom Matyok Assistant Professor University of North Carolina Greensboro

Eugene McCarraher Associate Professor of Humanities Villanova University

Eli McCarthy PhD Candidate Graduate Theological Union

James P. McCartin Assistant Professor of History and Catholic Studies Seton Hall

S. McLoughlin Graduate Student University of New Mexico

Kathleen McManus, OP Associate Professor of Theology University of Portland

roland meinert professsor emeritus university of missouri

Mark Miller Asst. Prof. of Theology and Rel. Studies University of San Francisco

Amata Miller, IHM Professor, Economics College of St. Catherine

Michael Milz President Scranton Diocese Assn. of Cath. Teachers

Ronald Modras Professor, Theological Studies Saint Louis University

Catherine M. Mooney Associate Professor Boston College

Anna Moreland Assistant Professor Villanova University

Bruce Morrill Assoc. Professor, Theology Boston College

John Morris Adjunct Professor Saint Mary's College

William E Murnion Dr PhilosophyWorks

Ann Neale, PhD Affiliated scholar, Ctr. Clin. Bioethics Georgetown U.

Cynthia R. Nielsen Adjunct Instructor (Philosophy and Religion) Eastfield College

Bridget O'Brien PhD Student, Theology University of Notre Dame

Thomas O'Brien Assoc. Professor of Religious Studies DePaul University

Maureen O'Brien Associate Professor of Theology Duquesne University

John J. O'Grady President AFGE Local 704

Fr. Jack O'Malley Chaplain AFL-CIO Pennsylvania

Julie Martinez Ortega Research Director American Rights at Work

Scott Paeth Assistant Professor of Religious Studies DePaul University

Paul M Pearson Director, Thomas Merton Center Bellarmine University

Thomas Petersik, PhD Economist

Stephen J. Pope Professor of Theological Ethics Boston College

Mark Potter Director of Social Justice California Province Jesuits

Bill Purcell Associate Director, Center for Social Concerns University of Notre Dame

Julie Leininger Pycior Professor of History Manhattan College

Tisha M. Rajendra Instructor University of St. Thomas (MN)

John S. Rausch Father/Director Catholic Committee of Appalachia

Bobby Rivera Doctoral Student Boston College

Steve Rosswurm Professor of History Lake Forest College

Andrew Russell Religious Educator

James Salmon Affiliate Assoc. Prof. Loyola College

Brendan T. Sammon Teaching Fellow CUA

Valerie Sayers Professor of English University of Notre Dame

Daniel Scheid Assistant Professor of Theology Duquesne University

Les Schmidt Bishops' Liaison Catholic Committee of the South

Sally Scholz Professor of Philosophy Villanova University

David G. Schultenover, S.J. Professor Marquette University

Robert A. Senser Editor Human Rights for Workers

Marc Simon Associate Professor Bowling Green State University

Andrew Skotnicki Professor of Religious Studies Manhattan College

Seth Smith PhD Candidate Catholic University of America

John Sniegocki Assoc. Professor of Christian Ethics Xavier University

Marcia Snowden member Association of Pittsburgh Priests

William Spilly Reverend St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Hamlin,

Dawn Stary Ms. Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice

Brian Stiltner Assoc. Prof. of Religious Studies Sacred Heart University

Edward Sunshine Professor of Theology Barry University

Rev. Gene Szarek, C.R., Ph.D. Clinical Asst. Prof. Loyola University Chicago

Tracy Tiemeier Asst. Professor of Theological Studies Loyola Marymount University

Edson Toneti STL Archdiocese of São Paulo

Suzanne Toton Associate Professor Villanova University

Edward Vacek, S.J. Professor of Moral Theology Boston College

Nelson Varona ORGANISED south florida AFL-CIO

John M. Walsh Executive Board Member Labor Guild of Boston

James Weber Professor of Business Ethics Duquesne University

William Werpehowski Professor of Christian Ethics Villanova University

James A. Wiseman Professor of Theology The Catholic University of America

Roger Yockey Mr. Retired

Jeanne Zaino Professor of Political Science Iona College

     Catholic Scholars for Worker Justice