Catholic Social Teaching The Dignity of the Worker The Missionaries of the Sacred Heart USA Province 305 S. Lake Street, PO Box 270 Aurora, IL 60507 Phone: (630) 892-2371 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
There is dignity in work. Through work, human beings participate in creation and help realize God's plan on earth.
Work is ‘for the worker, and not the worker for work’. Above: Silk Workers, by Andrew Hitchcock Creative Commons Attribution 2.0
Likewise, the economy must serve people, and profit cannot be the ultimate goal or purpose of economic activity.
The Church teaches that workers have certain rights, including: • Just wages which provide them the means to live a human life and care for their family • The right to gainful employment • Freedom from unjust discrimination • Freedom to join unions and to strike when it is necessary Sources: Mater et Magistra, #71 ; Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2433-2435
So what does this mean for us today? The teaching of the Catholic Church regarding the dignity of the worker has many implications for us today. Below are a couple of examples: • Paying employees a just wage • Providing employees with a safe working environment • Working to end unjust discrimination • Working to end forced labor • Changing our buying habits to support companies that treat workers fairly
We must work to remove practices of unjust discrimination from the hiring and promotion process, including discrimination based on gender, age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religious affiliation. We must also work to end discrimination against women who are pregnant.
We must work for the end of slavery, which has taken the form of human trafficking. Forced labor of any kind, including within the sex industry, reduces the person to a means of profit, violating his/her dignity as a human being made in the image of God. To learn more about human trafficking in the USA, please visit: http://misacor-usa.org/ihuman-trafficking. Photo by Kay Chernush for the U.S. State Department Photo by Kay Chernush for the U.S. State Department
We should support fairly traded goods. We can do this by changing what type of coffee we order & looking for Fair Trade items in the grocery store. We can also research the companies we buy products from and give our support to the ones which have responsible business practices and transparent supply chains.
We can each do our part to respect the dignity of work and the worker, through our hiring and employment practices, through advocacy for better working conditions, just wages and for an end to unjust discrimination, and through our daily purchase decisions.