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 8 ARKANSAS CATHOLIC SE~LR 1, 1991 USCC supports family and medical Good for labor W~hington (CNS)- The US. labor tra- dition would be well-served by approval of legislation for family and medical leave, guarantee of the right to strike and ina- pro xt benefits for the unemployed, ac- cording to Bishop James W. Malone of Youngstown, OH. The three issues have in common "the Church's understanding of work as a hu- man right and responsibility as well as the role of society and government Safeguard- ing their exercise," said Malone, chair of the U.S. Catholic Conference's Committee on Domestic Policy, in the USCC's annual message for Labor Day. Catholic teaching obliges eveffone to protect those rights, Malone said. "More- over, we must ensure that the exercise of one human right or responsibility does not have to be paid for by the sacrifice of an- other." The Family and Medical Leave Act, pending in Congress, "would guard most Americans against losing their jobs when they are needed at home to welcome a new baby, to comfort a dying parent, or to nurse a recuperating spouse," Malone said. "While many employers do the right thing, even without legal requirements, many others do not." The legislation was approved in the last congressional session but was vetoed by Pres. Bush. Malone said the USCC also endorses legislation protecting workers' rights to strike over wages and benefits. "For 100 years it has been a basic tenet of Catholic teaching that working people have a fights to organize, join labor unions and bargain collectively," he said. But while employees may not be fired for striking, a loophole in the law allows employers to hire "permanent replacements" Legislation that would ~ hiring permanent replace- ments also is in the works in Congress and also faces the threat of a presidential veto. "It's hard to see the difference between being fired and being 'permanently re- "It's hard to see the differenoe bceg berg placed,'" said Malone. Communities are often the losers as workers are pitted against each other, he added. The bishops also are backing legislation to reform the unemployment system to protect those who are still looking for work after losing their jobs in the recession, Malone said. Young workers with little experience and older workers who are too young to retire but considered "overqualified" for available jobs are particularly hard-hit, he said. "Why should these families lose eveW thing while waiting for the recession to end?" Malone asked. "Shouldn't govern- (Size 4-6-8) Cardigan Price Order Pdce 22.00 28.00 8.75 10.50 15.50 19.80 20.00 26.70 13.50 14.15 ) Short Sleeve Knit Shirts 10.50 13.85 ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: iiiii i]i] iii iiii iii iiiii!! ! ! ! !iiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!!!! ! ! ! iiiiiiii]iiiii!ii i iii iiiiii i i i iiii i iiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiii ; ! i ! ! !i i iiiiiiiiiiiii ii i!~!~!!iiii.i~iiiii!~i~!~!~!!~ii~iiiiiii~i!iiiiii~iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!i~i~i!~ ~i~!iiiii~iiii~i~i!~!~!!~i!!iii!iii~iii~!~i!ii~i~!~!~!ii~!~!~iii)!!~!i!i!iiiii~ii i!i!iiiii ii ii !!i!i!iiii!!iii ii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii !i!i!i!iiiiiii :.:.:.:.:.:.:. :i:i:i:!:i:!:!:! ment policy keep them afloat until they and the economy are back on an even keel?" He suggested that policy makers "have focused too much attention on the offidal unemployment statistics and other eco- nomic indicators and not enough on real people who are all too dearly suffering. Obviously, new jobs are the best answer, but in the meantime, we owe these people some measure of compassion and justice." Malone concludes by asking people to reflect on Pope John Paul II's words: "The social message of the Gospel must not be considered a theory, but above all else a basis and motivation for action." "In a more just society, people would not have to sacrifice their jobs to exercise fun- damental rights and responsibilities - such as caring for the young, the old and the sick - or find themselves out of luck 9chert illness or the business cycle leaves them out of work...," said Malone. ~rhis Labor Day, let us commit ourselves to acting on the Church's teaching on work and workers." 'lIVomen's quesUon" should By Stephen Kent Omaha, NE (CNS) - The social question of women's rights and dignity in contemporary sodety should be predsely phrased to elicit a timely response from Catholic sodal docwine, according to the president of The Catholic University of America. "Good social theory emerges when clear drinking engages itself with truly significant so-. cial questions," said Jesuit Rev. WtlliamJ. Byron. 'The women's question is of true and timely significance. It must be phrased correctly, not in the sense of political correcmess, but ~5th sodal, anthropological, historical and theologi- cal sensitivity." "Many persons, notably women, should be working to get the question right so that the target is set for a timely response from Catholic sodal doctrine," he said. Byron's remarks were made in a speech to the Sixth World Congress of Social Economics in Omaha. One of the benefits of celebrating Catholic social teaching by marking the centennial of Pope Leo XIII's encyclical Return Novarum is the return to currency of the term "the social ques- tion," Byron said. "It is time to be looking to the years beyond 1991 to pose three related questions," he said. "Who asks, who answers and what qualifiesas the truly significant social question to which the flfinking Church ought to be addressing itself in the immediate future?" 'The social question centering on women might be assembled from a set of questions like these: What is the meaning of women in any sodety? Why is the value of woman an issue in contemporary society? And where is the bal- ance for today's woman in asserting rights and assuming duties that befit a human person?" Such questions, Byron said, will touch the "canopy question of peace and justice" that will affect the Church in all ages. "Everyone in the Catholic faith commtmity has something to say in both the formulation and in the response end of the social question." Byron said that as for the future of Catholic social teaclfing, he wonders whefl~er the Church and its teachers should be more prccise %0 that Catholic social thought is to have greater, even derisive impact," fl~e educator said. les bargaining By Tom Kelly Toledo, Ohio (CNS) - The Farm LabOr Organizing Committee has resolved "to wo~ for collective contracts" for farm workers in a number of states and to strengthen ties with farm worker unions in Mexico. The organization at its fifth Wiennial corV vention also marked successful contracts it reached in 1990 to end a "sharecropptng system throughout Ohio and Michigan'S pickle industry. Pres. Baldemar Velasquez, 44, who founded the Toledo-based farm workers union, known as FLOC, with his parents 1967, said the labor group aims to create e~ ther one organization of workers nationally and internationally or "an alliance of unio# in order to negotiate common or coordinated contracts with multinational companies for whom we work." "Campbell Soup has good cause to plain about being the only tomato processOr under contract with us, he said. "We agre~ with them there ought to be others. So will be approaching Hunt's, Heinz a~ad Stokeiy's about this matter." The union's first contracts were two three party agreements reached in February 1986 with Campbell Soup Co., Vlasic Foods, ~ Campbell subsidiary, and growers in Ohio and Michigan. They came after a six-yOI boycott. FLOC delegates also voted to initiate ~ worker health program in relation to ddes; support day-care centers for worker children; continue public/private parmer l for the improvement and creation ofworkd housing; and establish a special womer;s committee to lead a women's leaderslail development program. Velasquez in 1989 received a $2.50,000 gr~t from the Chi~go-based MacArthur Found~ tion for designing a negotiating process tla involves all three key players in the Midw~ vegetable industry: fmln workers, growers ~0 food processors. bLOC contracts to end sharecropping were reached with Vlasic Foods Inc. in Farmingt@ Hills, MI, and Heinz USA in Pittsburgh. TlaO/ cover some 2,000 workers on 52 farms. Under the sharecropping system, the f~t worker and the pickle grower split the p nr0r its, and farm workers as "independent coil" tractors" weren't eligible for employee be~ efits. The new contracts will give migrant workers fights and status as employees f0t the first time, making them eligible (or tO' employment benefits, workers compensafi~ and Social Security. They allow a three-year transition, employer and em.wnpm,loyees thne to move ~-ad0' ally into the new-system and gauge the iar pact of the changes. FLOC officials said tlae~ envision the entire pickle indusuy in Ol# 0# and Midfigan to be under contract and of sharecropping by 1993. At the convention growers talked abO0t the change in recent years in their relafidr ship with FLOC from an adversafial apprO,~ to one of partnership. Warty Warm,.', prcfidcnt of flw Cunpbell Tomato Gr o~'crs Assodafion, remmked tl~t Ih "the moun::fins that sto(~t between us haee ~1 gotten a lot l,,v ~;.