In recent decades, the labor movement has declined in both membership and influence. Some don’t see this as a problem. Among those who do, proposed solutions vary. Here’s an idea of how to save the unions that you may not have heard: Labor needs to get in touch with its religious, and specifically Catholic, roots.
Thomas C. Kohler, who teaches labor and employment law at Boston College Law School, makes this case in the Fall 2007 issue of Boston College Magazine. Kohler traces the close relationship between the church and the labor movement through history, arguing that the overlap was no mere coincidence of location and status—the two institutions in fact share several core values related to the dignity of people, the power of community, and the nature of work. Kohler calls for “a new conversation between the law and religion about the character of work and its impact on the individual who performs it.”