Posts Tagged ‘Labor’

A Strong Economy for All

19 November 2014 - By

From Strong Economy for All:

The 213 members of the New York State legislature are currently agitating for a pay raise from their current base salaries of $79,600 per year. At the same time, three million New Yorkers working full-time at poverty-level pay are also fighting to raise the minimum wage up from the current $8 an hour, about $16,640 per year.

85If lawmakers are actually going to vote to raise their own pay, they absolutely must vote to raise the minimum wage at the same time. The Raise Up New York package would boost the statewide wage to $10.10 per hour, index it for inflation, and allow cities and counties to adjust it up to 30% higher to meet local living costs. It’s backed by Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders, and it must be part of any special-session package that raises pay for legislators or state commissioners.

Raising the minimum wage makes good economic sense. Economists have identified stagnant wages as the biggest barrier to broader economic recovery. Right now the states with the highest minimum wages have the most new jobs and most economic growth. Small businesses across New York support a wage boost because it would put more money in the pockets of their customers, boosting spending and sales.

And raising the minimum wage makes good moral and ethical sense — and you’d better believe that raising lawmakers’ pay without a raise for the millions at the bottom is senseless.

If we want better government and a stronger economy for all of New York, as well as a democracy that lives up to our ethical standards, any pay raise for the legislature must be matched with a pay raise for the lowest-paid New Yorkers.

Happy Labor Day

1 September 2014 - By

labor-day-eight-hours

Almighty and everlasting God, by Whose Spirit the whole body of the Church is governed and sanctified, receive our supplications and prayers, which we offer before Thee for all estates of men and women who labor and seek justice for workers, that each in their vocation, ministry, and labor may truly and godly serve our society to Thy greater glory and his own sanctification and salvation. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Reflection for the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Youth Sunday, and Labor Day

30 August 2014 - By

Sacredness-of-Work

A call to be
changed.

I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.

Today we celebrate a call to be changed, to offer ourselves to God in all we do, and in doing so to make His kingdom a reality.

How will we make this change real? How will we respond and get to work? What will we do to be transformed into people completely focused on carrying out God’s will for humanity?

Our Holy Church has designated this Sunday as Youth Sunday. Our youth will be returning to school. They will study and grow in knowledge so that they may take their place in society, contributing their work and effort – but to what end?

If their studies are self-focused, if they are taken up without due consideration of God’s call to be changed and to change the world, they will only make their lives small and self-serving. They may achieve earthly success, but in the process lose their souls. If however, their study and growth remain focused on God’s call to change and affect change in accord with His call, their lives will be glorious and complete. They will use what they have gained to come into union with God and to carry out His will. We must help them by our example, prayer, and support. Our duty is to continually assist them in realizing that everything they learn and do is a gift from God and requires a response to His call to change.

This weekend we also celebrate Labor Day. Our work and labor must also been seen in light of the call to be changed and change the world. Paraphrasing our organizer, Bishop Hodur: ‘The time will come when our heroes emerging from the homes of farmers and laborers will sweat and sacrifice not for kings or the rights of the privileged or a single class, but will battle and work for freedom and the rights of man. Let us gather and strive to be first in good and last in wrong. Then shall we bring ourselves, our nation, and the whole world closer to happiness and salvation.’

We are thus called to change ourselves and the world, to transform life away from the money-driven values of this world to the bringing of the kingdom of God.

We are called to make change real in the lives of our youth and in our lives. This is true worship: “offer your bodies as a living sacrifice” Do not live the status quo. It is not enough! Jesus put His body on the line for us. So we must put our lives on the line, changing them for Him and working for the coming of His kingdom.

Labor-Religion Coalition Announces Moral Mondays

28 February 2014 - By

Throughout the month of March, clergy, community, and labor allies will come together to call for a faithful New York State budget that values every member of society, prioritizes the common good, and lifts the burdens of poverty. Our many faiths call us to reject tax breaks for the wealthy and demand a budget that serves the people.

screenshotIn Albany- March 3, 10, 17, 24, 31 at 12 PM – Gather at the War Room on the 2nd floor of the NYS Capitol for a vigil led by clergy and faith leaders as well as those directly impacted by cuts to education and the social safety net as well as reductions in wage theft enforcement. More details at the Coalition’s Facebook page here.

In NYC – March 3, 10, 17, 24 at 11 AM – Gather in silence at the lobby of the Millenium UN Plaza Hotel, 44th St. and First Ave, proceed to the governor’s office at to protest and to pray.

Additional events are shaping up for Binghamton, Rochester and other New York cities starting March 10th. For more information or for help setting up a Moral Monday event near you, please contact Joy Perkett.

Man of Hope screening

6 December 2013 - By

The Embassy of Poland in Washington, DC is showing “Wałęsa. Man of Hope” by Andrzej Wajda at the AFI/EU Film Showcase at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, Maryland on Saturday, December 7th at 1pm.

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Oscar-winning Polish director Andrzej Wajda brings the story of Lech Wałęsa and the Solidarity movement to the big screen. Robert Więckiewicz (In Darkness) stars at Lech Wałęsa, while Agnieszka Grochowska shines as his loyal wife, Danuta. The sharp screenplay by Janusz Głowacki hinges on Wałęsa’s landmark 1981 interview, just months before Poland declared martial law, with Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci, recounting in flashback the previous decade-and-a-half of activism; Wałęsa would be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983.

On Wednesday, December 4th Lech Wałęsa returned to Capitol Hill and the U.S. Congress after 24 years and was greated by a full house of nearly 500 dignitaries. Wałęsa’s appearance coincided with the screening of the film “Wałęsa. Man of Hope” for members of Congress. The evening highlighted Solidarity’s contribution in bringing down Communism and ushering in freedom and Democracy to Central and Eastern Europe which lead to the tearing down of the Berlin Wall.

“This history happened in Poland first” emphasized Ambassador Ryszard Schnepf, adding that Poland and the Polish people, will never forget the word ‘Solidarity’ and the support we received, particularly from the United States in our greatest hour of need.

“I spoke at every public high school in Connecticut over the years … and I’d be asked by people, ‘Can one person change the world?’ and I used to constantly cite Lech Wałęsa, Eunice Shriver, Nelson Mandela as people who clearly changed the world,” former Senator from Connecticut and current MPAA President Christopher Dodd said during the course of the on-stage interview held before the movie screening.

“When Lech Wałęsa jumped over the wall at the Gdansk Shipyard, he took the whole world with him. The Solidarity movement brought hope and democracy to Poland, and inspired so many more around the globe, including Polish Americans in my hometown of Baltimore. The United States and Poland are united by our beliefs – in freedom, in people, and in speaking truth to power. Today, we are strong democracies, true allies, and steadfast friends.” said Senator Barbara Mikulski.

A prayer for Workers Memorial Day

1
28 April 2013 - By

Workers Memorial Day is celebrated each year on April 28, the anniversary of passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act in 1970. It is an opportunity to remember and honor the people who are killed or injured in workplaces, as well as a chance for people to recommit to making workplaces safer and healthier. Our organizer, Bishop Francis Hodur, strongly supported the aspirations of Labor and the Labor movement, but always with an eye toward God’s role in man’s work and striving. The following prayer for Workers Memorial Day is composed and offered by the Interfaith Worker Justice organization.

Scripture

Lamentations 5:1-5

Remember, O LORD, what has befallen us; behold, and see our disgrace! Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers, our homes to aliens. We have become orphans, fatherless; our mothers are like widows. We must pay for the water we drink, the wood we get must be bought. With a yoke on our necks we are hard driven; we are weary, we are given no rest.

Litany

Throughout history widows and orphans symbolized the fragility of life, the vulnerability of people. Widows and orphans became metaphors for the struggle for survival in the face of unjust situations. But they were also tangible and real – neighbors, friends, or family members. Everyone knew a widow and an orphan.

Grant us memory of widows and orphans.

Often women became widows, and children became orphans, because their husbands and fathers died while working in the fields of the wealthy or building the palaces of the rich.

Grant us memory of workers and their families.

As society progressed, the workplace became increasingly more dangerous – machines moving at treacherous speeds, workers scaling higher heights and digging deeper depths. Every second of every day was measured, with ever-increasing expectations. And managers began to view personal interaction between workers as “time theft.” So, in the midst of this the widows and orphans still labor and have no rest. Unjust managers deprive workers of basic human dignity and contact.

Grant us awareness of the widows and orphans.

Stress in the workplace increases animosity and alienation among co-workers. Fewer workers are expected to accomplish more work. The pace is unhealthy. Whether autoworkers or hotel workers, expectations exceed possibilities for safe completion of the work. So, in the midst of this workers are still injured and even killed in their workplaces.

Grant us awareness of these injured workers.

Our prophets continue to remind us to treat widows and orphans fairly, to take seriously their circumstances when considering how we distribute our wealth, and to watch their interests in the halls of power.

Grant us the compassion and wisdom to be advocates for the widows and orphans.

Our prophets continue to remind us that we are to be the voice of those injured in their workplaces. We are to stand with those unable to stand. We are to raise our voices to protect other workers from the same fate.

Grant us the compassion and wisdom to be advocates for our sisters and brothers in the workplace.

Our calling as God’s people is to be hope for the world.

Let us fulfill the hopes of the widows, the orphans, the workers who are injured in the workplace. Amen.

Prayer

Creator God, you formed the world and its people with your hands. As we use our hands, our heads, and our hearts in co-creating the world in our many and varied vocations, we are especially aware of our vulnerability and fragility. We suffer with those injured at the workplace. We mourn with the families of the killed and injured. But our mourning will be hollow without a change in our lives. Awaken our passion for justice for those workers who come in contact with dangerous chemicals, fast-moving machines, and long hours. And grant us hope. Amen.

StandFirm

Take the 2013 Polish American Survey

19 April 2013 - By

I encourage everyone, and especially PNCC members, to take the Piast Institute’s 2013 Polish American Survey. The survey thankfully includes a question on the religious affiliation of Polish-American and includes the Polish National Catholic Church as a choice among many others. Our inclusion as PNCC members in the Polish-American demographic is important.

This survey follows up on two earlier national studies in 2009 and 2010 that the Institute did of 900 and 1,400 Polish Americans respectively. The new study probes some of the key social, political and economic questions asked on the earlier studies and adds a few additional issues that have aroused public concern since. It also probes the attitudes of Polish Americans on matters of concern to the community and their ideas about its future.

The study is being conducted as a “rolling survey” over a span of three months. Polish Americans and Poles living in America are encouraged to participate. Dominik Stecula, a Ph.D. student at the University of British Columbia who coauthored the original study urged as wide a participation as possible to give the study a broad statistical sample for analysis. “I hope all Polish Americans who have a concern about our community take the time to respond to the survey,” he said. Mr. Stecula noted that “The original study demonstrated to us that Polonia is a unique community which shows distinctive opinions and attitudes on public and community issues. We need broad national participation to allow us to confirm our earlier findings and to deepen our analysis. These will be invaluable as we seek to create Polonia anew in the 21st century.” The survey, he pointed out, which can be completed in 25 to 60 minutes, can be accessed here (NOTE: the survey did not really take that long).

The 2010 study published as Polish Americans Today by the Piast Institute has gone through three printings. Its findings have been a key item of discussion at several national conferences. The chancery of the President of Poland ordered copies for its staff as have several Polish Ministries as well as the offices of the Marshalls of the Sejm and Senate. “The Piast Institute undertook the original study because we found a dearth of information about the Polish American Community as major Research Centers such as NORC at the University of Chicago and the national election exit polls have stopped asking about European American ethnic groups.” Says Dr. Radzilowski. “Poles and other European groups were lumped into a new default category called “White” which makes no historical, cultural or demographic sense. It is a new version of the melting pot.”

The new study will be published by E. Mellen Press, a major Social Science and Humanities publisher.

Thank you for your participation. You can access the survey HERE.

Solidarity and Martial Law in Poland presentation

8 November 2012 - By

“Solidarity and Martial Law in Poland” will be presented at Elms College (Alumnae Library Theater) in Chicopee, MA on Saturday, November 17th from 10 am to 5:30 pm. The program is free and open to the public. There is an optional luncheon (12-1 pm) available for $7.

This program will have several original activists in the Solidarity union movement speaking, as well as others:

  • Jersy Polak, official photographer for Solidarity 1980-1981
  • Andre Blaszcsynski, Moderator of the Conference of Solidarity Support Organizations 1983-1990
  • Neil Walsh, United States Information Agency in Warsaw 1972-76 and in Krakow 1978-1980
  • Wieslaw Olszak, Martial Law political prisoner

Workers and union activists should find this program especially important for its lesson that workers’ efforts can transform national and global history.

This program is a joint effort of the Kosciuszko Foundation (New England Chapter) and The Polish Center of Discovery and Learning in Chicopee.

Unemployment and Re-employment

27 October 2012 - By

Unemployment Benefits Reduce Poverty

The Congressional Research Service released a report on the: Antipoverty Effects of Unemployment Insurance (UI) [pdf].

This report examines the antipoverty effects of unemployment insurance benefits during the past recession and the economic recovery. The analysis highlights the impact of the additional and expanded unemployment insurance (UI) benefits available to unemployed workers through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. In 2011, approximately 56% of all unemployed individuals were receiving UI benefits (down from a high of 66% in 2010). UI benefits appear to have a large poverty-reducing effect among unemployed workers who receive them. Given the extended length of unemployment among jobless workers, the additional weeks of UI benefits beyond the regular program’s 26-week limit appear to have had an especially important effect in poverty reduction.

The report’s analysis shows that UI benefits appear to reduce the prevalance of poverty significantly among the population that receives them. The UI benefits’ poverty reduction effects appear to be especially important during and immediately after recessions. The analysis also finds that there was a markedly higher impact on poverty in the most recent recession than in the previous two recessionary periods. The estimated antipoverty effects of UI benefits in 2011 were about 50% higher than that of two previous peak years of unemployment — 1993 and 2003.

In 2011, over one quarter (26.5%) of unemployed people who received UI benefits would have been considered poor prior to taking UI benefits into account; after counting UI benefits, their poverty rate decreased by just under half, to 13.8%.

NELP Reports on the Value of the Public Re-Employment Services

The National Employment Law Project (NELP) recently issued a briefing paper titled: Getting Real: Time to Re- Invest in the Public Employment Service [pdf].

The paper highlights the value of reemployment services. Their briefing calls for a “renewed focus on reemployment services,” with substantial increases in federal funding for the Employment Service. According to NELP, increased funding for the Employment Services would allow states to provide more services to job seekers such as: job placement services, in-person job search assistance, and pre-training counseling. In addition to increased federal funding, NELP recommends prioritizing those who are receiving unemployment insurance.

A Prayer for the Unemployed on Labor Day

3 September 2012 - By

Almighty God,

As we reflect on this Labor Day in fellowship and in hope we call ourselves a people committed to following You to serve the well-being of others. We commit to one another’s dignity and welfare. We know that our creativity is a gift from You; and we commit the work of our hearts and hands and minds to Your service and to Your glory in all that we do.

We see in one another and in those whom we serve Your divine signature, and we honor it. We know that You are present among us as we offer this prayer in one voice to You, Lord God of compassion and mercy. We ask that You remain with us and strengthen us as we endeavor to ensure that Your justice is served.

We remember particularly today those among our brothers and sisters who are without meaningful and sustaining work, those who struggle to provide for themselves and their families. We ask that You guide us and grant us the wisdom to address the problem of unemployment and underemployment in our community and in our nation.

Encourage us now, Lord, as we seek to find solutions to these challenges. Lord, in Your presence and filled with hope; guided by Your grace we are determined to preserve the well-being and dignity of working people and their families across this country. Grant that we persevere with faith and hope, and in the sure knowledge that justice will certainly triumph. Amen.

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