Last Sunday we honored workers, on Labor Day weekend and received a challenge from the letter to James to “show no partiality” to those we perceive who are rich. Instead, if there is any preference given, it is given to the poor. From the Medellin council in Latin America the “church’s preferential option is for the poor” the marginalized, the disenfranchised persons in our world. A prime example is the plight of all the refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, people fleeing their home country because of war and violence trying to find peace, a refuge, a sanctuary, a place to resume their lives and take care of their families. We hope that Germany among other EU nations can do their part in receiving the refugees who seek safety.
Changing a world economic system is daunting, and we are not going to change the whole world, but we can respond to local needs and local issues. The Interfaith Worker Justice movement offers these thoughts in concert with the InterFaith Council of Churches here in Santa Clara County:
PRAY for all workers, especially those in low wage and unsafe jobs. Pray also for employers and business owners that they may all learn to value people over profit. Pray for our elected leaders, that they place those struggling on the margins at the center of their deliberations.
LISTEN, learn and educate yourself and other members of our parish on worker and economic justice issues. Connect with the Interfaith Council on Labor Issues. Visit www.iwj.org for resources on faith and labor.
ORGANIZE a worker rights workshop at your parish to learn how Catholic Social Teachings apply to worker rights in San Jose.
PAY AND TREAT WORKERS WELL. Seek to ensure that all the workers you employ receive a fair and equitable wage.
DEVELOP a construction Policy that awards repair and construction work to contractors and subcontractors that treat workers justly. It is diocesan policy that we employ firms that pay prevailing wage.
SUPPORT workers who are organizing for better wages and working conditions. Over the past few years, workers in the fast food, retail and service industries are standing up to demand dignity and respect on the job. Be inspired by the Walmart members and those leading the Fight for $15.
SHOP ETHICALLY. Make an impact with your dollars. Find out how vendors treat their employees and support those with policies that promote fairness, fair wages and respect at the workplace. These and other ways demonstrate our solidarity with those who are struggling to make ends meet. We are so blessed to live here in Almaden, how can we share our blessings with others?
Father Larry Hendel