The print edition of the Catholic Telegraph of Cincinnati runs a Labor Day “statement” from Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development. It is from start to finish a lamentation on the supposed growth of income inequality and the decline in the power of unions. One especially fatuous section caught my attention:
Since the end of the Civil War, unions have been an important part of our economy because they provide protections for workers and more importantly a way for workers to participate in company decisions that affect them. Catholic teaching has consistently affirmed the right of workers to choose to form a union. The rise in income inequality has mirrored a decline in union membership.
First, the Church also teaches that people are free to choose not to join a union, but when was the last time you heard an official with the bishops conference voice his support for Right to Work Laws? Second, he makes an assertion, that inequality is linked to the decline of union participation, that demands proof. Yet in his several-thousand word essay, Bishop Blaire never bothers to provide it. Isn’t it possible that other factors played a role in this “inequality”? Moreover, the focus on inequality, which stokes the fires of resentment and envy, is misplaced. Economic growth will increase the health and happiness of workers rather than a return to some bygone era of broader unionization. It also creates the jobs that keep workers employed in the first place. But unfortunately, this administration, with its “transformative” assaults on the market economy, e.g., Obamacare and Dodd-Frank, is erecting barriers to that growth. And again, don’t hold your breath waiting for a USCCB official to make that connection either.