In the summer of 2009, after years of dialogue between the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic hospitals (typically operated by religious orders), and labor unions that represent health care workers, the three groups issued a joint document on “Respecting the Just Rights of Workers.” It was hoped that the principles in the document would provide for a more civil dialogue based on mutual respect between labor and management – a model of Catholic social thought in the world that would reduce the conflict and mutual hostility that had often attended union organizing campaigns. How has it worked out in practice?

Representatives of the USCCB, Catholic Hospitals, the AFL-CIO and several healthcare labor unions will meet in Washington DC on Saturday, Feb.12 -- before the USCCB Catholic Social Ministry Gathering -- to discuss their experience, positive and negative, since the document was issued. (Interested in participating? Follow this link and choose Daily Gathering Registration, then Catholic Labor Network; registration closes Friday.)