The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has announced a new step forward for workers at Catholic health facilities: a set of principles to ensure that workers have a fair process to bargain for a better life.
In “Respecting the Just Rights of Workers: Guidance and Options for Catholic Health Care and Unions,” the USCCB, in cooperation with Catholic health care providers and the union movement, has laid out guidelines for Catholic health care ministries across the country.
The document means that labor unions and Catholic leaders have reached an agreement designed to end years of bitter hostilities that often surrounded union efforts to organize workers at Catholic hospitals.
"The central actors in these dramas have to be the workers themselves, that's what we feel is the strength of the document," said Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington, D.C., who helped lead the discussions.
The accord, announced Monday, seeks to apply Catholic teachings that recognize the right of workers to "freely and fairly" decide whether to join a union.
The new guidelines cover seven principles for employers when workers seek a union: