Popes and workers deserve social justice

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Duquesne University’s refusal to recognize the right of its adjunct faculty to form a union (“Protesters Chastise University,” Dec 6) is hard to understand. Duquesne’s rationale is that as a religious institution it is exempt from the Federal Labor Relations Act. What a strange position for a Catholic institution to take when for more than 120 years the official teaching of the Catholic Church has supported the rights of workers to form unions.

Popes, from Leo XIII with his encyclical “Rerum Novarum” to John Paul II, Benedict XVI and, most recently, Francis, have recognized and supported the social justice of workers’ rights.

In its mission statement, Duquesne claims to offer an ethics-based education through profound concern for moral and spiritual values. How can Duquesne as a Catholic university reconcile these professed values with its unwillingness to accept church teaching on this subject? If popes have recognized the right of workers to form a union, why won’t Duquesne?

Squirrel Hill
The writer is a 1964 graduate of Duquesne University.

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