Justice for Workers in their Workplaces
You shall not withhold the wages of poor and needy laborers, whether other Israelites or aliens who reside in your land in one of your towns --Deuteronomy 24:14
We know that our loving God cares about all aspects of our lives, including our work lives. Conditions and events at work absorb our energy, occupy our minds, and impact our psyches when we are both at work and home. Our work situations can be fulfilling and empowering, or demeaning and humiliating. For many of us, our job is the main factor determining the size of our income, whether we have health insurance and a pension, whether we live in a big house or any house at all, and whether we send our children to college or to bed with an empty stomach.
Join the interfaith community in calling for an economy that works for working people. Join in calling Congress to create jobs. Join with other congregations in supporting the unemployed. Join efforts to educate ourselves to be community leaders working for job creation. Join Faith Advocates for Jobs.
Some workers confront particularly unjust situations such as extremely low pay, unsafe conditions, racism, or sexism. All workers, whatever their position in the hierarchy of jobs, may suffer from indignities, large and small, that cripple their spirit and hinder their journey to greater wholeness.
One-quarter of all jobs in the U.S. pay wages so low that a full-time worker cannot keep a family out of poverty. For some, the biggest problem is no job at all. Even when the economy is considered to be "strong," millions of people who want to work cannot find a job or can only find a part-time one.
God's reign does not stop at the door to the workplace. The Church, the body of Christ, is called to seek out and accompany people wherever they are. So the church must also be in our offices, factories, stores, farms, schools, and all the places where people work.
Low-paying jobs are too common in the U.S. today
Over one in four jobs in the U.S. pay poverty-level wages, so low that a full-time worker cannot support a family above our nation's extremely meager poverty line. Learn more about low-wage jobs. "Jesus was a low-wage worker" buttons (in English and Spanish) and info about what to do about low wage jobs.
Work to end wage theft, the illegal practice of paying workers less than they earn.
Labor unions are an important way that workers can improve their wages and working condtions, and gain greater dignity on the job. Traditional labor unions continue to organize and struggle to improve workers’ lives. But forming a traditional union is nearly impossible in the current political and legal climate, even though the right to do so is an internationally-recognized human right. So workers are creating alternative worker organization. For an overview of these see Alt-Labor, an article by Josh Eidelson in the February 2013 issue of The American Prospect that describes and tells the stories of some of these alternative labor organizations and the couragous workers who are behind them.
Organizations formed by working people in collaboration with their allies welcome and encourage our support. These groups are active in multiple locations around the country. Please find one near you and lend your support to strengthen their efforts.
Women continue to be paid less than men for doing similar work. We need pay equity.
Farm workers face some of the lowest pay and worst working conditions.
Because of its large size, Wal-Mart sets the standards in the retail industry. The corporation needs to treat its workers with dignity and fairness.
Many hotel workers are in an on-going, nationwide struggle for better pay working conditions.
Labor Sunday, the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, is an excellent time for congregations to lift up workers and issues of justice in the workplace.
Immigration is an issue surrounded with much misunderstanding and confusion. Don’t Be Fooled: Immigration is NOT the Real Problem explains that the shortage of good jobs in the U.S. is not due to immigration but lax enforcement of worker protections in the workplace. Stop the Workplace Raids calls on immigration authorities to stop raids of workplaces.
Abusive sweatshop working conditions, either in the U.S. or abroad, must be eliminated.
Economic globalization is impacting workers, jobs, and the U.S. economy. How do we respond?
The UCC's General Synod Resolution Affirming Democratic Principles in an Emerging Global Economy (General Synod 21, 1997)
Safety on the Job is critical for all workers.