Sign-on Statement in Support of the Employee Free Choice Act

We speak as scholars who are committed to Catholic Social Teaching concerning the human right of workers to organize employee unions. The Magisterium of the Catholic Church recognizes “the fundamental role played by labor unions, whose existence is connected with the right to form associations or unions to defend the vital interests of workers employed in the various professions.” Indeed, the Catholic Church holds that unions “are a positive influence for social order and solidarity, and are therefore an indispensible element of social life.” Because Catholic teaching is based on natural law, we believe the Church’s teachings have relevance not only to Catholic institutions but also to the broader civil society. Specifically, we hold the following:

  • The present legal and moral framework that is intended to assist workers to form unions is badly broken. Workers who seek to form unions are routinely met with employer resistance to their right to organize. Many employers intimidate, ostracize, or fire union organizers, deny free speech to workers on the job, threaten the loss of jobs and benefits, and hire “union avoidance” firms that – despite employers’ protests to the contrary – actively seek to prevent union elections from taking place at all. Present labor law is so weak that when elections actually take place many employers ignore the results with little impunity and when employers do bargain it can take years to reach a first contract, if at all.
  • There is an a priori presumption for unions in Catholic Social Teaching. Catholic teaching states that the right to organize unions is based on the human right of freedom of association that is found in the natural law. The right to organize belongs to the workers alone and cannot be abridged or annulled by civil or ecclesiastical authorities. The method or venue that workers choose to form a union is also their choice: workers may say yea or nay, stand or sit, sign statements or cards, or hold a secret ballot election. The right of workers to freely choose unions necessarily involves their right to decide how they shall decide for or against a union.
  • The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) is rooted in and supported by Catholic Social Teaching. The EFCA would: (1) Recognize the right of workers to join a union through filing signed cards – know as “card check” — that state their decision to form a union; (2) mandate mediation and arbitration if a first contract cannot be negotiated within the first 90 days; (3) impose stronger penalties on employers that violate workers’ rights. Workers can also choose a secret ballot election if that is their choice. These provisions strongly reflect the Catholic position that the decision to form or join unions is always the workers’ choice. Most importantly, the workers’ decision to unionize must not meet with hostility or resistance from employers.

More than 150 members and friends of Catholics Scholars for Worker Justice have signed their names to endorse our statement on the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA).


Joseph J. Fahey Professor of Religious Studies Manhattan College
Mary Priniski Chapter Prioress Adrian Dominican Sisters
Joe Holland Professor of Philosophy & Religion St. Thomas University of Florida
Thomas A. Kochan Professor of Management Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Louise Akers Coordinator of Office of Peace, Justice Sisters of Charity
Jerome P. Baggett Assoc. Professor of Religion and Society Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley
Raymond G. Decker Pastor Emeritus Retired Priest, San Francisco
Teresa Ghilarducci Professor of Economics New School for Social Research
Jay Gonzalez Associate Professor of Politics University of San Francisco
David Gregory Dorothy Day Professor of Law St. John’s University Law School
James A. Gross Professor of Labor Policy Cornell University
Father Brian Jordan Labor Priest, Director Holy Name Province Labor-Immigration Project
Peter J Judge Associate Professor of Religious Studies & Department Chair Winthrop University
Thomas Massaro, S.J. Professor of Theology Boston College
Maria Mazzenga Education Archivist/Historian Catholic University of America
Joseph A. McCartin Associate Professor of History Georgetown University
Sr. Sharon McGuire Associate Professor of Nursing Siena Heights University
Amata Miller Professor of Economics College of St. Catherine
David O’Brien Emeritus Professor of Catholic Studies College of the Holy Cross
John J OBrien Adjunct for Catholic Social Doctrine Blessed John XXIII National Seminary
William P. Quigley Professor of Law Loyola University College of Law
Patrick J. Sullivan Lecturer in Sociology King’s College, Wilkes-Barre, PA
Terrence W Tilley Professor of Theology & Department Chair Fordham Univesity
John Trumpbour Research Director Harvard Law School
Martin Wolfson Director, Higgins Labor Studies Program University of Notre Dame


Stanislaus Alla, S.J. Fr Boston College
Mark J. Allman Assoc Prof of Relig & Theo Studies. Merrimack College
Charlotte Antal Theology Teacher Bishop Brady High School
Wilkie W. Au Professor, Theological Studies Loyola Marymount Unniversity
James Bailey Assistant Professor Duquesne University
William Barbieri Associate Professor of Catholic University of America
Michael Barram Associate Professor of Theology & Religious Studies Saint Mary’s College of California
Karen A. Barta Dr. Seattle University
Jan Barthel Comm. Coordinator Mt. Tabor Benedictines
Peter H. Beisheim Professor of Religious Studies Stonehill College
Rosanne Belpedio Sister Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet
Roger Bergman Director, Justice & Peace Studies Program Creighton University
Gerald J. Beyer Assistant Professor of Theology Saint Joseph’s University
Joseph Bracken Professor Emeritus of Theology Xavier University/Cincinnati
Jackie Brooks Assistant Professor of Sociology Xavier University
Brian Edward Brown Professor of Religious Studies Iona College
Michael J. Buckley, S.J. Bea Professr lof Theolgy university
Rachel Bundang Visiting Asst Prof of Theology & Ethics College of St. Catherine
Thomas F. Burke Doctoral Candidate Boston College
Dr. Russ Butkus Associate Professor of Theology and Environmental Studies University of Portland
Francine Cardman Assoc. Prof.-Historical Theology BC School of Theology and Ministry
Darryl Caterine Associate Professor of Religious Studies Le Moyne College
Lucas Chan student BC
Michael Childers Assistant Professor of Labor Education University of Wisconsin
Meghan Clark Teaching Fellow Boston College
Carol K. Coburn Professor of Religious Studies Avila University
Mrs. Debbie Cole Cashier/Sales Marburn Curtains Warehouse
David Conner none retired teacher
David Conner none retired teacher
Holly Taylor Coolman Assistant Professor Providence College
Catherine Cornille Associate Professor Boston College
Jeremy Cruz PhD Candidate Boston College
Mary D’Angelo Associate Professor University of Notre Dame
Kathleen Deignan Professor of Religious Studies Iona College, New Rochelle, NY
Daniel Di Domizio Professor, Religious Studies Cardinal Stritch University
Alexander A. Di Lella Professor Emeritus Catholic University of America
Peter S. Dillard Dr. Independent Scholar
John DMello Adjunct Faculty St. Vincent de Paul Seminary
James C. Doig Professor emeritus of Philosophy Clayton State University
Elizabeth A Drummond Assistant Professor of History Loyola Marymount University
Jason T. Eberl Associate Professor of Philosophy Indiana Univ.-Purdue Univ. Indianapolis
John P. Edwards Doctoral Candidate, Theology Boston College
Mary Elsbernd, OSF, Ph.D. Professor of Pastoral Studies and Social Justice Loyola University CHicago
L.Charisse Estes Data Specialist PMG Physicians Billing Office
Virginia Fenner Spiritual Director
Dan Finn Professor St. John’s University, Collegeville, MM
Burt Fulmer Assistant Professor of Religion Christian Brothers University
Edward McGlynn Gaffney Professor of Law Valparaiso University
Joy Galarneau Assistant Director, Graduate Student Life Boston College
Dr. Sixto J. Garcia, Ph.d. Professor St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary
Peter R. Gathje Professor of Christian Ethics Memphis Theological Seminary
Kathryn Getek Teaching Fellow in Ethics Villanova University
Chris Gilbert Philosophy Instructor Cuesta College
Mark Graham Associate Professor of Theological Ethics Villanova University
James Gross Professor Cornell University
Kenneth R. Himes, OFM Associate Professor Boston College
Irene Jillson Assistant Professor Georgetown University
Kevin Johnson Doctoral Student Boston College
Laurie Johnston Assistant Professor Emmanuel College
Robert Kane University Distinguished Teaching Professor The University of Texas at Austin
John Karuvelil Doctoral student Boston College
James Keenan, S.J. Founders Professor in Theology Boston College
Kevin Kelley BA NERCC
Thomas Kelly Associate Professor Creighton University
Paul Knitter Paul Tillich Professor of Theology, World Religions, and Culture Union Theological Seminary
Joseph Kroger Professor of Religious Studis St. Michael’s College
Mary Labarre MAPM Director University of Portland
Dr. Patricia Lamoureux Adjunct Professor, Philosophy & Religion Marist College
David Lampe Associate Professor of Biology Duquesne University
Stephen Lieb Retired/Substitute Bishop Carroll Catholic HS
Rebecca Luckett Student Mt. Sinai School of Medicine
George Lundy, S.J. Pastor, Catholic Student Center Southern University at Baton Rouge
Edmondo Lupieri Professor of Theology Loyola University Chicago
Richard Malloy, S.J. Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology Chestnut Hill College
Carlos Martins Rev. Companions of the Cross
Bryan Massingale Associate Professor of Theology Marquette University
Robert Masson Dr. Marquette University
Tom Matyok Assistant Professor University of North Carolina Greensboro
Eugene McCarraher Associate Professor of Humanities Villanova University
Eli McCarthy PhD Candidate Graduate Theological Union
James P. McCartin Assistant Professor of History and Catholic Studies Seton Hall
S. McLoughlin Graduate Student University of New Mexico
Kathleen McManus, OP Associate Professor of Theology University of Portland
roland meinert professsor emeritus university of missouri
Mark Miller Asst. Prof. of Theology and Rel. Studies University of San Francisco
Amata Miller, IHM Professor, Economics College of St. Catherine
Michael Milz President Scranton Diocese Assn. of Cath. Teachers
Ronald Modras Professor, Theological Studies Saint Louis University
Catherine M. Mooney Associate Professor Boston College
Anna Moreland Assistant Professor Villanova University
Bruce Morrill Assoc. Professor, Theology Boston College
John Morris Adjunct Professor Saint Mary’s College
William E Murnion Dr PhilosophyWorks
Ann Neale, PhD Affiliated scholar, Ctr. Clin. Bioethics Georgetown U.
Cynthia R. Nielsen Adjunct Instructor (Philosophy and Religion) Eastfield College
Bridget O’Brien PhD Student, Theology University of Notre Dame
Thomas O’Brien Assoc. Professor of Religious Studies DePaul University
Maureen O’Brien Associate Professor of Theology Duquesne University
John J. O’Grady President AFGE Local 704
Fr. Jack O’Malley Chaplain AFL-CIO Pennsylvania
Julie Martinez Ortega Research Director American Rights at Work
Scott Paeth Assistant Professor of Religious Studies DePaul University
Paul M Pearson Director, Thomas Merton Center Bellarmine University
Thomas Petersik, PhD Economist
Stephen J. Pope Professor of Theological Ethics Boston College
Mark Potter Director of Social Justice California Province Jesuits
Bill Purcell Associate Director, Center for Social Concerns University of Notre Dame
Julie Leininger Pycior Professor of History Manhattan College
Tisha M. Rajendra Instructor University of St. Thomas (MN)
John S. Rausch Father/Director Catholic Committee of Appalachia
Bobby Rivera Doctoral Student Boston College
Steve Rosswurm Professor of History Lake Forest College
Andrew Russell Religious Educator
James Salmon Affiliate Assoc. Prof. Loyola College
Brendan T. Sammon Teaching Fellow CUA
Valerie Sayers Professor of English University of Notre Dame
Daniel Scheid Assistant Professor of Theology Duquesne University
Les Schmidt Bishops’ Liaison Catholic Committee of the South
Sally Scholz Professor of Philosophy Villanova University
David G. Schultenover, S.J. Professor Marquette University
Robert A. Senser Editor Human Rights for Workers
Marc Simon Associate Professor Bowling Green State University
Andrew Skotnicki Professor of Religious Studies Manhattan College
Seth Smith PhD Candidate Catholic University of America
John Sniegocki Assoc. Professor of Christian Ethics Xavier University
Marcia Snowden member Association of Pittsburgh Priests
William Spilly Reverend St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Hamlin,
Dawn Stary Ms. Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice
Brian Stiltner Assoc. Prof. of Religious Studies Sacred Heart University
Edward Sunshine Professor of Theology Barry University
Rev. Gene Szarek, C.R., Ph.D. Clinical Asst. Prof. Loyola University Chicago
Tracy Tiemeier Asst. Professor of Theological Studies Loyola Marymount University
Edson Toneti STL Archdiocese of São Paulo
Suzanne Toton Associate Professor Villanova University
Edward Vacek, S.J. Professor of Moral Theology Boston College
Nelson Varona ORGANISED south florida AFL-CIO
John M. Walsh Executive Board Member Labor Guild of Boston
James Weber Professor of Business Ethics Duquesne University
William Werpehowski Professor of Christian Ethics Villanova University
James A. Wiseman Professor of Theology The Catholic University of America
Roger Yockey Mr. Retired
Jeanne Zaino Professor of Political Science Iona College