Catholic bishops side with labor unions in Supreme Court case

(Photo: Wikimedia)

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops filed an amicus brief on Friday, January 19, in an upcoming case before the Supreme Court.

The USCCB filed in the case of Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), voicing their support for the union in its challenge from the State of Illinois over the right to collect money from nonmembers for collective bargaining.

AFSCME is the nation ‘s largest union of public employees, and is arguing for the right to collect “fair-share fees” from nonmembers in order to cover the costs of representing all employees in collective bargaining.

The bishops’ amicus brief noted the American Church’s longstanding opposition to “right-to-work” laws dating back to the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act, which authorized states to pass such legislation. The bishops also cited papal
statements and encyclicals on workers’ rights dating back to Leo XIII’s Rerum novarum.

The brief states that a ruling against AFSCME “would represent another unfortunate decision of this Court that marginalizes the voice of the bishops with respect to an important public policy debate by declaring their position to lie beyond the constitutional pale.”

Oral arguments for Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees are scheduled to begin on February 28.

For the full story in the National Catholic Reporter, click here.