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Catholics and organized labor.

While Catholics remain more supportive of unions than do Protestants, the gap is narrowing. ... This is mainly due, I suspect, to the thinking of many upwardly mobile Catholics. Many of them have bought into the idea that, while unions may have served a useful purpose when their fathers, grandfathers, or great-grandfathers struggled to make ends meet, that is no longer the case. They seem to think, in other words, that in a society as affluent as our own, workers can readily fend for themselves in the so-called free market; workers have no need to organize. Sad to say, they are wrong about that.

Their own relative affluence has blinded them to the fact that, like their immigrant forbears, millions of today's workers struggle to maintain a minimum standard of living. Many of these workers are themselves recent immigrants, but not all by any means. A growing number of second-, third-and fourth-generation American workers, who thought that they, too, were climbing up the economic ladder, now find themselves slipping back into poverty or near poverty.

All this, however, seems to have escaped the notice of many affluent Americans, Catholics included. During the 1980s they made much of the fact that millions of new jobs had appeared every year in the United States. They seem not to know or at least not to care, that a sizable percentage of these jobs paid poverty-level wages.
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Title Annotation:excerpt from book by Msgr. George Higgins, 'Organized Labor and the Church: Reflections of a Labor Priest'
Author:Higgins, George
Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Date:Sep 3, 1993
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