The National Catholic Review

Benedict XVI  devoted much of his encyclical Caritas in Veritate to issues of globalization, including the observation that “the global context in which work takes place also demands that national labour unions, which tend to limit themselves to defending the interests of their registered members, should turn their attention to those outside their membership, and in particular to workers in developing countries where social rights are often violated [64].” America is a developed country in which social rights are, sadly, often violated – every year thousands of American workers are illegally disciplined or fired for exercising their right to organize.

Thanks to such global labor solidarity, however, that didn’t happen when workers sought to form a union at the new IKEA plant in Danville, Virginia. IKEA is signatory to a worldwide agreement with a global confederation of unions – the International Federation of Building and Wood Workers – pledging to honor the right of workers to organize. Moreover, back in the home country, Sweden’s powerful labor unions helped make sure the company honored that agreement. Without unlawful interference by their bosses, on Wednesday IKEA’s Danville workers voted to join the International Association of Machinists by more than three to one.

Comments

John O'Grady | 7/30/2011 - 5:16pm
I am not on point in responding to this article.  However, I am concerned about Catholics mis-interpreting Papal Documents on Social Justice such as Centesimus Annus.  Apparently, "they" consider the encyclical to have "endorsed" capitalism, and harp on "subsidiarity" as proof of "lesser" government.  Egads!  Here is one interesting article that points to some of the errors.
http://distributist.blogspot.com/2009/01/what-does-centesimus-annus-really-teach.html
JOSEPH CLEARY II | 7/28/2011 - 11:12pm
A union election where the union and management got to present their sides and a secrete ballot was taken with high participation of workers.

What a model of how employees should choose to organize (or not)!

Nice to see AMERICA magazine , Clayton, Vince and I can all celebrate this model instead of the discredited ''card check'' / public bulling scam that unions could not even ram though a government seemingly stacked for success- for two years a liberal president and the overwhelming democratic party majority.


Vince Killoran | 7/28/2011 - 9:27pm
Thanks-a great story about the need for solidarity across borders.

But I'll wait for management to sign the first contract before having that celebratory drink.  Labor law in the USA is lopsided in managment's favor: employers can violate the law with little fear of real fines. Even after a successful election in favor of collective bargaining management draws out negotiations for years sometimes. It's no wonder that labor activists are increasingly looking to alternative ways to represent workers outside the confines of the NLRA.