Labor of love
New work statement deserves attention
By Tony Staley
The Wisconsin Catholic bishops' Labor Day statement, "Making Wisconsin Work Well," is a thoughtful, well-crafted document that deserves study by workers, employers and politicians.
The statement (see story, "Bishops: Work must fulfill us") upholds the teachings of Pope John Paul's 1981 encyclical, Laborem Exercens (On Human Work), which affirms that work is at the center of social issues affecting justice and peace.
Four areas in the statement deserve special commendation:
The need to keep a healthy balance of time for work, family life, leisure, and worship.
The need to focus on the plight of family farms and farm workers, higher jobless rates for minorities and the "working poor," particularly those affected by W-2 (Wisconsin Works).
The importance of labor unions as vibrant and vital "voices for economic and social justice in the community."
And, lest the bishops be accused of ignoring possible problems in their own domain, its call for the church to ensure that parish and church agency employees receive just wages.