Lest there was any doubt that the fundamental aim is to tilt the bargaining power (even more!) toward employers, the latest initiative from the House Republicans calls for starving striking workers into submission. This is only the slightest of exaggerations. The proposal is to completely cut off food stamp benefits to household where any “able-bodied work eligible adult member” decides to go on strike. This is a fundamental assault on the non-negotiable rights of workers. It stands completely against the tenor of Catholic social teaching. It is evil.
As a reminder, here is what the Church teaches on the right to strike:
“The Church’s social doctrine recognizes the legitimacy of striking “when it cannot be avoided, or at least when it is necessary to obtain a proportionate benefit”, when every other method for the resolution of disputes has been ineffectual. Striking, one of the most difficult victories won by labour union associations, may be defined as the collective and concerted refusal on the part of workers to continue rendering their services, for the purpose of obtaining by means of such pressure exerted on their employers, the State or on public opinion either better working conditions or an improvement in their social status. Striking “as a kind of ultimatum” must always be a peaceful method for making demands and fighting for one’s rights; it becomes “morally unacceptable when accompanied by violence, or when objectives are included that are not directly linked to working conditions or are contrary to the common good”.”