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The Episcopal Church and Labor Relations…

            Healthy Relationships take work!  I began my last blog with this statement.  It bears repeating in the face of the challenges peoples and nations and legislatures have been facing during the last month.  Healthy relationships require equality and a willingness to be open to change and negotiation.  This is true when looking at the dynamics which have led to the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt.  It is also true when we look at the dynamics in the state of Wisconsin between the Governor and the Legislature.  I thought you might like to know where the Episcopal Church stands with respect to Labor Relations.  At the General Convention 2009 (our Legislative Assembly), the House of Deputies put forward a resolution entitled Fix our Broken Labor Laws – D 039.  It passed in the House of Deputies and then passed in the House of Bishops.  I have pasted the resolution below.

             Resolved, the House of Bishops concurring, That the 76th General Convention of the Episcopal Church urge the Congress of the United States to pass, and the President to sign into law, labor law reform legislation designed to better protect employees seeking to engage in collective bargaining, to simplify and streamline the procedures by which employees may choose to organize, and to assist employers and employees in reaching agreement. Said legislation should contain the following elements:

1. Provide workers the choice of seeking union recognition either through an election, or through a majority sign-up on cards which are then verified by the National Labor Relations Board.

2. Adopt more effective remedies for violations of employees’ rights, comparable to the remedies for discrimination provided by existing civil rights laws.

3. Where the employers and unions are unable to reach agreement on their first collective bargaining agreement within a reasonable period of time, resolve the dispute by submitting it to mediation and if mediation is unsuccessful, then to binding arbitration; and be it further

Resolved, That church members and the Office of Government Relations communicate the position of the Episcopal Church on this issue to the President and Members of Congress, and advocate passage of federal legislation consistent with this Resolution.

            It is important to affirm this action by the General Convention.  It is also important to affirm our commitment in the Baptismal Covenant to respect the dignity of every human being.  The Financial challenges we face will best be addressed if we avoided blaming one group of people for all of our problems but rather choose to gather together to address creatively and sacrificially the complex issues of fair and equitable compensation and benefits.  I am reminded of the phrase attributed to Pope Paul VI…If you want peace, work for justice!  I welcome your comments!

 Every blessing,

Doug

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