I coulda swore I blogged about this a couple of years ago, when the idea of United Church of Canada ministers organizing under the Canadian Auto Workers made the newspapers. But I can’t find the post so I guess I didn’t. The ministers then raised a cry about how the felt misused and the church — a long time supporter of trade-unionism mind you — snorted back. I was unimpressed by the idea — can’t find the citation — that a union was unnecessary because the church was a union. I do confess I wonder if the sometimes-necessary adversarial relations between management and labor is helpful in a church. After all, aren’t the clergy supposed to take the hit? (He says wryly.) And from the horror stories I have heard from United Methodist clergy friends, there are worse fates than a threatened work-stoppage . . . .
Why? In European countries, where some rabbis and Christian ministers are unionized, the reason expressed seems to do more about mistreatment and safety than hours and wages. This, too, is expressed in the UCCan appeals and these are ongoing.
I don’t really have more to say on the matter, so here’s a few links.
- One of those old news stories. Susan Bourette “Canada’s overtaxed clergy look for the union label” Christian Science Monitor (November 24, 2004) .
- Union organizing information page. Uniting United Church Clergy and the CAW [Canadian Auto Workers].
- Page of Amicus the Union (UK) Faith workers section.
a faith workers union makes sense to me, mostly because I think a lot of RE professinals, sextons, janitors, administrators etc are underpaid and over worked. I also get the sense that these very same people are not well represented when it comes to to renew contracts etc.
a ministers only union makes less sense to me, since ministers often do have a better bargaiing position.