Labor Church Teaching

Church Teaching

Since Pope Leo in 1891, Catholic teaching has supported worker rights and the “indispensable” role of unions.

Catholic social teaching supports the rights 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.

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

In work, the person exercises and fulfills in part the potential inscribed in his nature. The primordial value of labor stems from man himself, its author and its beneficiary. Work is for man, not man for work.

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Some people continue to defend ‘trickle-down’ theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power.

Pope Francis

Work should not leave people poor, but should provide wages sufficient to achieve a standard of living that is in keeping with human dignity.

US Conference of Catholic Bishops

We must first of all recall a principle that has always been taught by the Church; the principle of the priority of labor over capital. This principle directly concerns the process of production: In this process labor is always a primary efficient cause, while capital, the whole collection of means of production, remains a mere instrument of instrumental cause.

Pope John Paul II

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.

National Conference of Catholic Bishops

Trade unions have been an essential force for social change, without which a semblance of a decent and humane society is impossible under capitalism.

Pope Francis

Click on these links for more Catholic teaching on:

Co­­­­­llective Bargaining

Labor Unions


Work and Worker Rights