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A century ago, blacks, immigrants, Catholics, and other ‘undesirables’ were openly lynched in communities throughout the United States. Jim Crow laws were accepted practically everywhere – and defended under the ‘separate but equal’ doctrine. Workers dying in droves was so common it rarely made the news – the Triangle Shirtwaist fire and Matewan are examples of how dire circumstances must be to merit notice. There was a need for advocates for the poor and workers; America was a much different place.
Now, many unions are less advocates for their membership then they are powerbrokers in their own right. Look at the wealth and influence of the UAW, the AFL-CIO, SEIU, AFT, and the NEA. Collectively, they use union dues and ‘contributions’ from members to funnel hundreds of millions of dollars to elect people who in turn are beholden to their patrons. The former and current head of SEIU actually seem to have an open door to the Oval Office. How does this help the worker? It doesn’t. Using collective bargaining as a bludgeon, the unions in Wisconsin – and a number of other states – have forced governments to accede to outrageous concessions. Fully paid benefits? Is that realistic? Is that fair? Is that justice? Especially when it’s the taxpayer’s dime? I don’t think so. In the case of teacher unions, I would think that the Church would be unwilling to stand beside them. Both the NEA and the AFT are famous for their support of abortion. Supporting them would be a violation of the Catechism. What do I mean by this? As usual, the Catechism of the Catholic Church explains the crux of the problem:
II. GOOD ACTS AND EVIL ACTS
1755 A morally good act requires the goodness of the object, of the end, and of the circumstances together. An evil end corrupts the action, even if the object is good in itself (such as praying and fasting “in order to be seen by men”).
The object of the choice can by itself vitiate an act in its entirety. There are some concrete acts – such as fornication – that it is always wrong to choose, because choosing them entails a disorder of the will, that is, a moral evil.
1756 It is therefore an error to judge the morality of human acts by considering only the intention that inspires them or the circumstances (environment, social pressure, duress or emergency, etc.) which supply their context. There are acts which, in and of themselves, independently of circumstances and intentions, are always gravely illicit by reason of their object; such as blasphemy and perjury, murder and adultery. One may not do evil so that good may result from it.
How does this apply? Let’s look at the most outrageous union that supports Planned Parenthood – the National Education Association. Why a teacher’s union would be interested in eliminating some 3,000 future clients every day in America is beyond comprehension, but facts are facts. Proof?
In 1992, NEA passed New Business Item 29, establishing an annual fund of $50,000 in grants to pro-abortion advocates across the nation. The NEA promised to award this amount in grants every year until passage of the Freedom of Choice Act. The union has cosponsored pro-abortion rallies with groups such as the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and the National Organization for Women. Randall Moody, NEA’s chief lobbyist, formerly served on the board of Planned Parenthood’s political action arm. NARAL has been a welcome guest at the NEA offices in Washington. The NEA and the AFT both belong to the Leadership Council of the Pro-Choice Public Education Project. This organization is dedicated to spreading pro-abortion messages to their local constituencies. Since 1990, the NEA has reconfirmed the following resolution every year.
The NEA supports family planning, including the right to reproductive freedom…. The NEA will oppose any legislation which will erode the status of Roe v. Wade…
ASCME and the AFL-CIO have sponsored a number of rallies and marches to support NARAL and Planned Parenthood. State and municipal unions have a clear and active relationship with the abortion industry. The Catechism clearly indicates that we cannot support these organizations. Even acts that people can support – such as fair working conditions – are obviated by the clauses of the CCC cited above.
What exactly are labor unions fighting for? Collective bargaining? Or a free ride? Most state and municipal employees make no direct contributions to either their pensions or their health care plans – because of collective bargaining. Most privately employed citizens contribute up to a quarter of their income to provide for retirement and health care. Using bargaining leverage, the unions have forced the state to assume the lion’s share of the contribution and the municipal government picks up most – if not all – of the remaining employee obligation. Is this what Pope Benedict was advocating in Caritas in Verite? No, the collective bargaining ‘rights’ the Holy Father was defending was for people throughout the world to have a chance to fight for what we have already have won in the United States. You see, in most places in the world, workers are facing the hardships I outlined in the introduction. Not a free ride. I don’t think that Pope Benedict or Pope Leo in Rerum Novarum advocated for workers not contributing to their own health and pension plans.
So far, the Church in Wisconsin and other states that are experiencing labor unrest are being circumspect. They should. This isn’t an issue of protecting the underprivileged and exploited worker; the union leadership is fighting to keep it’s local, state, and national political power. Only about 7% of privately employed workers belong to a union in the United States . I wager that the other 93% are doing well enough.
Once again, the Left turns to the Church to try to shame them into supporting their agenda. This time, let us not let them do it.