Worker Justice Reader

Paul Harvey

We've blogged here before about the Interfaith Worker Justice project, important work organized by Kim Bobo. Just a quick note here about their new publication, A Worker Justice Reader (Orbis Books), which collects writings both historical and contemporary about religion and the labor movement. From the book's website:

The national organization Interfaith Worker Justice has gathered together key writings that identify and explain essential labor and economic issues fromthe perspectives of a variety of faith traditions, including Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim.

The readings are organized in five parts:
• Crisis for U.S.Workers
• Religion-Labor History
• What Our Religious Traditions Say about Work
• Theology and the Ethics of Work
• The Religion-Labor Movement Today

Designed for educational use, whether in traditional courses or community outreach, a number of the selections include sidebars, tables, illustrations, and suggested readings.

For those concerned with contemporary issues facing labor and the role religious traditions play, A Worker Justice Reader offers a wide range of data and detail for study, reflection, and action.

Interfaith Worker Justice is a Chicago-based network of more than 70 interfaith groups that mobilize the religious community in the United States on issues and campaigns that will improve wages, benefits, and conditions, and give voice to workers. IWJ's founder and Executive Director, Kim Bobo, has been named one of the "50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World" by Utne Reader.

The work is designed especially for courses in seminaries, workshops, and nonprofit leadership seminars. As Bobo explains in the preface:

Why aren't we learning about worker justice in our seminaries? This was the first question asked at the end of Interfaith Worker Justice's initial Seminary Summer program.

A sampling of course outlines on religion and labor, and on worker justice, may be found here.


Yeah! Many, many (most?) Protestant churches used to celebrate "Labor Sunday" the Sunday before Labor Day, with a sermon that connected Jesus' message/ movement with worker-solidarity. Charles Stelzle worked hard to get local unions to have a non-voting "delegate" from local congregations to attend conventions and meetings and have input, but most of all be able to report back to congregations.... There is such an enormous history of connections here that were dropped at some point, probably due to the WW2 era "Red Scare."
rjc said…
A fantastic resource. Thanks for giving it notice, Paul!

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