Archbishop says workers need decent jobs, pay
By Catholic News Service
In their 2014 Labor Day statement, the U.S. bishops denounced the fact young adults have “borne the brunt” of unemployment and underemployment in this country and around the world.
“Our younger generations are counting on us to leave them a world better than the one we inherited,” wrote Miami Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.
Writing the statement on behalf of the bishops for Labor Day, which is Sept. 1, the archbishop spoke of Pope Francis’ teaching against an “economy of exclusion” and applied it to the millions of unemployed young adults in the U.S.
Some Americans, he said, have found “stability and security” in an economy that has seen some improvements. There are signs the country “may finally be healing economically after years of suffering and pain.”
“For those men and women, and their children, this is good news,” he said, but a little digging shows there is an “enduring hardship for millions of workers and their families.” And the poverty rate remains high, he said, with 46 million Americans struggling “to make ends meet.”
Archbishop Wenski also said policies and institutions “that create decent jobs, pay just wages and support family formation and stability” help honor the dignity of workers. “Raising the minimum wage, more and better workforce training programs, and smarter regulations that minimize negative unintended consequences would be good places to start.”
The archbishop called for greater solidarity, noting that “each of us is made in the image of God and bound by his love, possessing a profound human dignity; we have an obligation to love and honor that dignity in one another, and especially in our work.”
He praised labor unions for advancing the common good by helping workers.
Archbishop Wenski also made a plea for fixing “our broken immigration system to stop the exploitation and marginalization of millions of people as well as address the development needs of other countries.”
In this nation of immigrants, “a vibrant and just economy” needs everybody’s contribution, he said.