Organized labors struggle to better itself and get its share of the economic pie go back to the late 1700’s in New England. At that time, you could be arrested for even wanting to discuss an increase in wages. This struggle would go on throughout the 19th century often marked by violence and bloodshed.
It was not until 1935 with the passage of the Wagner Act that organized labor really had a firm right to exist and to organize. In the 1950’s, about one-third of the American workforce in the United States belonged to Labor Unions. Today, union membership numbers less than half of that amount. For more than 20 years, working people in the United States have been losing ground economically. Now we see governors of a number of states who are attempting to blame the budget shortfalls on the working men and women of this country. In Ohio, Wisconsin and Indiana, unions have become the whipping boys for politicians and their right to organize, being gained only after the struggles for 100 years, is being arbitrarily cast aside.
Where is the voice of the Church? In the 1930’s, when unions were under attack, bishops and parish priests stood side-by-side in the picket lines and helped labor gain its voice. Have the clergy of the Church today lost contact with their roots? I certainly hope not but we shall see.