Newspaper Archive of
Arkansas Catholic
Little Rock, Arkansas
September 1, 1991     Arkansas Catholic
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September 1, 1991
 

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PAGE 2 ARKANSAS CATHOLIC SEPIEMBER 1, 1991 The man who guaranteed my mail deliv- elt died last week. (Not the postal carrier. The US P.S. guar- antees nothing, neither delivery nor death. The U.S.P.S. knows only the Three Classes of Purgatory whence no one emerges un- folded, tmspindled or unmudlated. From the U.S.P.S., I get my mail when the sun, stars and planets are aligned in a "W shape. Otherwise, it goes all over the neighborhood, or, sometimes, back to the sender. Or to the dead letter office, per- hap~) The man who died was a neighbor whose street address was very similar to mine. He got my mail and I his. We got each other's pizza coupons, sweepstakes entries, letters from Congressmembers using frank- ing privileges that do not discriminate on the basis of address, dty or zip code: they will trash anyone's mailbox. We got each other's magazines - I re- ceived his Modem Matury; he got my America. He would telephone. "Ms. Halter, I have your mail." I would send my sons. "Here, run over and put this is Mr. S's mailbox." We would commiserate about the decay of the P.O., about the unreliability of the mails. I thought about how certain Mr. S. had made me feel that I would receive my mail, eventually at least, via his house. When we prayed in church last Sunday for those who had gone before us in death, I thought about that little feeling of safety Mr. S. gave me, protecting me against the xagaries of the United States Postal Service. When we prayed for those who had gone before us, I asked the Defiveryman to give Mr. S. safe passage, to comfort his family, and to keep my mail safe hi his absence. I never really knew Mr. S., but we're going to miss him at our house. DKH I ARKANSAS .CATHOLIC Icept the first ~unday h Jan., July, Aug., at~ th~ ~.~t Sunda~/ In c~)~ Sis p~r yaar, ~ ~ Ca~,or, c DI~ o~ L~e Rock. Arlumlms ~, I~.; P.O. Box 7417, 2~00 N. Tyler :St_, L.~tie Reck.. AR 72217, (50|) 664-0340 ~zAX ~qc.~;S]. PUBUSHER MOSt Rev. Andrew J. McDO~, Bishop MANAGING EDITOR Req: Albert j. Schneider EDITOR Deborah K. Halter MANAGER Agnes KnRttg ADVERTISING MARKETING MANAGER Ron M. Halt 7417. I.lffie Rock. AR 7221Z Business ho~rs: &30-4, Monday. Fride.y, except Holy Days and nai~n~ holidays. To subscribe, send $15 with your name, address ~and parish to the addrsss above. L Catholic sodal teaching, from leo XIII through John Paul n, strongly iden- titles the dignity of work and the rights of the worker. Basic among the list of work- ers' rights is the right to collectively orga- By lo &nn Bemric.h nize and bargain with employers and, when reasonable negotiation fails, the right to strike. Currently in the U.S., workers (Belknap w Hale). The result: entire work who exercise their fight to strike find them- forces may be permanently replaced with selves in danger of being permanently resultant loss of replaced because some employers take years of seniority, advantage of a loophole in the law which retirement benefits allows them to permanently replace strik- and health insur- ing employees, ance coverage. A bill which is ready to come before Workers in their the Senate for vote, S-55, "Workplace Fair- middle years find ness Act," seeks to preserce the jobs of themselves unem- workers who must resort to a strike when ployable. Striker re- negotiations fill. The House of Represen- placement affects i tatives passed the corresponding bill, H-5, entire communi- on July 17th. ties because re- ..... In 1935, the National Labor Relations placement workers Act was passed by Congress to establish often commute fr~ma distant towns and take basic rights for workers, induding the right their paychecks to businesses closer to home. to strike. Congress acted to give workers For-100 years, the Catholic church has an effective means to balance the enor- defended workers' rights. mous power of the employer. Other ma- Pope Leo XHI opened the case for the jor industrialized nations recognize the worker in his landmark encyclical Rerum right to legally strike as a basic fight. How- Novarum in 1891. The document was about ever, in the U.S., an anti-union climate 50 years behind in the struggle to tmns- has existed ha recent federal administla- form the slave shops that evolved in the tions which has encouraged many employ- Industrial Revolution in Europe. This ers to take advantage of two Supreme struggle followed the great influx of Roman Court rulings allowing them to perma- Cathofics as they immigrated from Europe nently replace strikers, to the U.S. The industrial giants ruled the One such ruling is merely a footnote factories and the workers had no control in a Supreme Court decision of 1938 over the conditions in which they earned which upheld the right of striking em- their wages. Pope Leo XIII told the owners ployees to return to work. The footnote how they should treat their employees but stated that employers are not obliged to left room for employers to justify mallreat- discharge replacement workers hired ment. during the strike (NLRB vs Mackay Radio Forty years hter in 1931, Pope Pius XI in and Telegraph CO.). In 1983, a Supreme the encyclical Q~tadm&,es/mo Anno reiterated Court ruling strengthened the right of per- the message of the earlier pope and fom~d manent employment for replacement hungry ears among the work force of workers, even in situations where the corn- America. The labor movement ha the U.S. party wanted to discharge replacements grew painfully. Hideous working conditions, life threatening situations, schedules, starvation wages and nate firings produced victims mad My own glandparents, who greatly enced my childhood Iraining, told of sit down strikes, lockouts and around the mills, mines and factories grew up with knowledge that the movement had brought change for good in their lives and the lives of working people. They were personally of the early struggles for the rights working people. They stood up for rights and won battles that we reap benefit of today. There are those who would argue hbor eventually negotiated itself out of by drking corporations to seek labor in other countries. able points to be made and this goes on. What is basic, however, and ered in Catholic nity of work and the rights of the can corporations must address the rights of the worker no matter where set up shop. In the U. S. today's new migrant population faces similar ~ problems immigrants. The struggle goes on. The U. S. Catholic Conference strongly hacks S-55. Senators need to know that bargain and, if need be, strike of being permanently replaced. The United States Senate Washington, DC, 20510 Sen. Dale Bumpers (202) 2244843 (501) 378-6286. Sen. Da~5d Plior (202) 224-2353 (501) 378-6336. (jo Ann BemFwh is Dira~ of the Aaion O~ Diocese of Little Rod~) Dolores Curran 6~To family has a comer on weirdness," my friend told me "and I laughed in agreement. I had just finished telling her about a bachelor uncle of mine who o~aaed a curio shop far away from us. i Twice a year or so, he sent us kids a box of candy, a great treat for the seven of us at a time when candy wasn't the staple it is today. We would wait eagerly for our mother to open the box and then stare in wonder at a huge mound of hard candy, all seemingly glued together. My trade always sent LifeSavers, hundreds of them, but he tmwrapped them and put them in the box so by the time we got them, they resembled a three pound diamond of many colors. When we were good, we were allowed to chip one off. We soon learned, of course, how to acci- dent' chip off a couple - "I was uying to get only one" - and double our pleasure. My brother got so good he could get four or flve off before we told on him. Sometimes my uncle would enclose un- wrapped sticks of gum among the candy, which added to the challenge. We never did learn why he unwrapped the candy and gum but we re- member him much more clearly than if he'd sent an ordinary box of candy. My friend responded by telling me about her grandma who had such scruples about ser- vile work on Stmday that she refused to comb her hair for church. We laughed and then she said, "What do you suppose they'll tell about us in years to come?" That brought me up short. I don't like the thought but it's likely to happen. Family stories become legends in just one generation and, like all legends, they take on details and size. They are also taken out of context and become open to interpretation. What may well be a nonnal reaction to another's abnormal behavior can, through years of retelling, become proof of an ancestor's ec- centricity. I remember a zealous Cathofic dairy farmer whose neighbor, in a jest, sent a door-to-door evangelist to him, saying to the missionaw, "I'm not interested but Dan Cronin next door loves Cod and that stuff a lot." tie got rid of the man with an inner chuckle because he and Dan enjoyed playing practical jokes on one another, qhe poor nfisinfomaed evangelist drove to Dan's falm where Dan w~.s fmistfing nfilking in the barn. Without meeting or asking Dan, ary set up his record player on the milk house a short distance Dan approached carrying two heavy the evangelist shouted, '~IaUeluiah, brother, 1 Lord has sent me to lead you to Hina," and turned on a loud and stirring "What do you tell about m in years to Dan took one long look at 1-tim and ~id, ~ give you tl~lree minutes to pack up and get out of here or both you and it going to end up in the stock tanL" Well, as the kids say, the evas~gelist rubber and the neighborhood had a story laugh over for months to come. That was years ago when I was a child. "D~e last heard the story a few years ago, long-gone had become an eccentric who hated x ies so fiercely that not one dared to the township. He had taken a hammer to the and smashed it to bits and then chased missionary to his car and stuffed trim in. So grow legends. Small wonder that we ~ gue over taking the Bible literally. keep our fanfily stories pure. As nay "No family has a corner on weirdness." Grpyn'ght 1991 Alt Publial~ing Co.