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I was befuddled to read about Duquesne University's attempt to block a union election for adjunct faculty by claiming a religious exemption from National Labor Relations Board jurisdiction ("Duquesne U. Seeks to Block Union Vote," June 16). Catholic social teaching has supported the right of workers to form labor unions at least since Pope Leo XIII wrote "Rerum Novarum" in 1891. Pope John Paul II reiterated this support in his 1981 encyclical "Laborem Exercens," which reads in part:
"All these rights, together with the need for the workers themselves to secure them, give rise to yet another right: the right of association, that is to form associations for the purpose of defending the vital interests of those employed in the various professions. These associations are called labor or trade unions. ... [Unions] are indeed a mouthpiece for the struggle for social justice, for the just rights of working people in accordance with their individual professions."
NANCY A. NIEMCZYK
First Published June 20, 2012 12:00 am