The New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops has sent the following letter today.
March 10, 2015
The Bishops of New Mexico oppose SB183 and HB75 “Right to Work” legislation. It is important for all Catholics to understand how Right to Work laws hurt workers and families and contradicts our Churches social teachings on the dignity of work and the rights of workers. At first glance Right to Work sounds like a law that protects workers’ rights. “Why shouldn’t I be able to work without an obligation to my job sector’s union? It’s my right not to pay unions to negotiate the contract – I don’t belong to the union and it’s my money.” Sadly, this attitude reflects our increasingly individualistic society where one privileges his rights above the common good. Not only does Right to Work fracture the sense of solidarity among workers that unions help foster, it also can put employees’ basic rights and protections into peril.
There is a good reason why Pope Leo XIII declared over 120 years ago that, “the most important of all (workplace associations and organizations) are working men’s unions.” (on the condition of labor, No. 49). In Right to Work states the union’s ability to collect dues from all workers to cover the cost of a contract negotiation ends up impacting workers and their families across the employment sector, both public and private, union and nonunion. Benedict XVI observed in Caritas in Veritate, unions are experiencing “great difficulty in carrying out their tasks of representing the interest of workers, partly because governments often limit the freedom or negotiating capacity of labor unions.” He also declared that, “the repeated calls issued within the Churches social doctrine for the promotion of workers’ associations that can defend workers’ rights must be honored today even more than in the past.” (No. 5). As Catholics it is our duty to go forth and proclaim our Churches teachings to all.