Labor Unions and the Churches

One of the significant developments of this time is the rapidly enlarging influence of labor upon both state and church.

By CARLYLE B. HAYNES, General Secretary, War Service Commission

One of the significant developments of this time is the rapidly enlarging influence of labor upon both state and church.

The National Religion and Labor Foundation held a conference in Pittsburgh, October 9-11, 1944. From all parts of the United States and Canada 225 delegates assembled. Among them were prom­inent Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish leaders, per­sons holding responsible positions in the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Indus­trial Organizations, and "key individuals from the Y.M.C.A., the Co-operative Movement, and the National Council for a Permanent Fair Employ­ment Practices Committee ; also two representa­tives of industry."

Out of the conference there came a document called "Resolutions and Objectives." It is set forth in full in the October bulletin of the Founda­tion, Economic Justice. It is also made available by the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America in its November 18 Information Serv­ice, 'Vol. XXIII, No. 38.

Resolution 6 comprises "An 8-point Rural Pro­gram for Religion and Labor!! Number 8 covers "Eleven Ways for the Unions and Churches to Get Together." The resolutions of greatest significance, however, are numbers 2 and 4. In full these de­clare:

2. Political Action Both a Right and a Responsibility

"This Conference affirms the moral obligation of all qualified citizens to register and vote ; calls for the aboli­tion of the poll tax and all discriminatory restrictions upon the free exercise of the franchise. We call partic­ularly upon the members of labor unions and of religious communions to exercise their franchise at the polls on November 7 in behalf of progressive candidates for office —local, State and national. It places itself, likewise, on record as defending the right and urging the responsibil­ity of church groups and labor Unions to organize for political action, in order that a people's government may be guaranteed and that ethical principles of religion may find expression in the formulation of laws and the ad­ministration of public affairs. We cite as examples of such organization the CIO-PAC, both in the United States and Canada, the Religious Associates of the NC-PAC, the political action committees of the A.F. of L., and all other labor and religious agencies which publicly avow their political character with no attempt to conceal the same, that are set up to participate directly in the politi­cal life of the nation."

"4. Churches Asked to Carry Union Label

"Recognizing the contribution that organized labor has made and is making toward the building of a more equi­table social and economic order, this Conference recom­mends that all of the religious organizations of the United States and Canada take steps to have their printing done in shops that have collective bargaining agreements with the Allied Printing Trades; that they carry the Union Label upon all of their printed matter, and that where religious organizations own and operate their own printing plants, they instruct their Publishing Agents to sign collective bargaining agreements with the Allied Printing Trades.

"The Conference especially commends the United Church of Canada for instructing its Publishing Agents to enter into a closed shop agreement with the Allied Printing Trades."

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By CARLYLE B. HAYNES, General Secretary, War Service Commission

February 1945

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