Selected Quotations from Social Thought on the Rights and Responsibilities of Workers and Labor Unions

The Catholic Church has a well-documented tradition on labor and unions, rooted in the human right of association. This document excerpts passages that highlight this tradition. This document is intended to serve as a primer on this issue; it is not comprehensive. To read the complete text of a cited document, simply click on the title. Emphasis is added.


On Human Work (Laborem Exercens)
Pope John Paul II, 1981

All these rights [of workers], together with the need for the workers themselves to secure them, give rise to yet another right: the right of association, that is to form associations for the purpose of defending the vital interests of those employed in the various professions. These associations are called labour or trade unions. . . .

Catholic social teaching supports the right of workers to choose whether to organize, join a union, and bargain collectively, and to exercise these rights without reprisal. . . .Workers, owners, employers, and unions should work together to create decent jobs, build a more just economy, and advance the common good. (no. 76)

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