Thursday, July 9, 2009

AFL-CIO President Sweeney on the Pope's Encyclical

Statement by AFL-CIO President John SweeneyOn the Pope’s EncyclicalJuly 8, 2009

Pope Benedict XVI’s commitment to the cause of working peopleworldwide shines today. In the new encyclical, Caritas in Veritate or Charity in Truth, Pope Benedict XVI offers an ethical critique of the global economic crisis and proposes concrete elements for policiesanchored in moral values that enhance the dignity of all, especially the poor and working people. The encyclical levels a strong critiqueat the forces of unfettered free-market capitalism and globalizedg reed.

Particularly, the new encyclical offers a much-needed reminder that to create an economy that works for everyone it is critical to protect workers’ fundamental right to join together as a union and bargain fora better future. As the Pope makes clear, it is not only working people, but also entire communities - - nations even - - that stand to benefit when workers exercise this right. In the document, the Pope reaffirms the Church’s longstanding position that labor unions play a vital role in efforts to build a more just economy—one in which even the most marginalized workers are guaranteed basic dignity and respect.

As the gap between the wealthy and the poor continues to widen, and workers around the world are denied the dignity and freedom they deserve, the union movement stands with the Catholic Church in its call for a global economy that works for working people. Now, more than ever, we must rally to protect the rights of workers—at home and worldwide—to come together in unions and build a better future for us all.

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