Catholic Social Thought

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Current Theme: Dignity of Work and The Rights of Workers

Dignity of Work and The Rights of Workers

“Work is fundamental to the dignity of a person. Work, to use an image, “anoints” us with dignity, fills us with dignity, makes us similar to God, who has worked and still works, who always acts.” Pope Francis in his homily on the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, May 1, 2013

Scriptural basis: 
The Lord blesses our work so that we may share its fruits with others. Deuteronomy  14:28-29 
All workers should be paid a just and living wage.  Matthew 20:1-16  

The economy must serve people, not the other way around. Work is more than a way to make a living; it is a form of continuing participation in God’s creation. If the dignity of work is to be protected, then the basic rights of workers must be respected the right to productive work, to decent and fair wages, to the organization and joining of unions, to private property, and to economic initiative.  – United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

In many cases, poverty results from a violation of the dignity of human work, either because work opportunities are limited  (through unemployment or underemployment), or “because a low value is put on work and the rights that flow from it, especially the right to a just wage and to the personal security of the worker and his or her family.”  Charity in Truth (Caritas in Veritate), #63

All people have the right to economic initiative, to productive work, to just wages and benefits, to decent working conditions, as well as to organize and join unions or other associations. A Catholic Framework for Economic Life, #5

All people have the right to work, to a chance to develop their qualities and their personalities in the exercise of their professions, to equitable remuneration which will enable them and their families "to lead a worthy life on the material, social,  cultural and spiritual level" and to assistance in case of need arising  from sickness or age. A Call to Action (Octogesima Adveniens), #14