Unionized parish employees

Unionized parish employees

A group of parish workers in Texas wanted to unionize and have since been ejected from their jobs. Four of them were fired, but a court order got them back their jobs, although they were subsequently put on paid leave.

Bishop Raymundo Pena of Brownsville quickly identifies who the troublemakers are.

“This same group has picketed the ordination of our diocesan priests the last two years. On June 22, they were hurriedly removing the women’s ordination signs from their banners and replacing them with the union signs,” he wrote.

That’s a remarkably candid, and refreshing, statement by the bishop. Why doesn’t it surprise me that those who see the priesthood in terms of power (as advocates of women’s ordination almost invariably do) see their ministry for the Church in terms of career and payment. Now, I’m not against just wages and fair treatment, but the idea of unionizing people who work in ministry seems to undermine the very concept of ministry. The dispute centers on—what else?—money and the diocese’s changing of pension plans. The workers claim they will lose a lot of money and the diocese gets most of it.

1 comment
  • Oh yeah, because teens care so much about labor issues. I’ve worked with teens for years; for them to care about labor issues, they have to been taught it.

    As for treating clergy different: that’s partly because they are not employees, they are clergy. The Church is more than a paycheck for them, it is their family. It’s not a career, it’s a vocation.

    I’m not saying there shouldn’t be just pay for lay employees, but unionizing lay workers isn’t the answer.