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"A Fair and Just Workplace" Principles and Practices for Catholic Health Care

 
August 26, 1999
  • November, 1997 -- Sr. Mary Roch Rocklage, a member of the Domestic Policy Committee, requested of Bishop William S. Skylstad, then-Chair, that the Committee sponsor a dialogue between the leaders of Catholic health care and representatives of the labor movement "to further explore areas of common interest and activity."

  • January, 1998 -- Sr. Mary Roch's proposal was brought to the Domestic Policy Committee which decided to appoint a Subcommittee on Catholic Health Care and Work to: identify the critical issues driving/shaping the work environment today; identify the core convictions within the Catholic tradition in regard to relationships within the work environment; and identify new models of relationships between management and labor/between religiously sponsored health ministry and organized labor.

  • Members of the Subcommittee included:

    • Bishop William Skylstad, Bishop of Spokane, Chair

    • Bishop John McRaith, Bishop of Owensboro

    • Bishop Joseph Sullivan, Auxiliary Bishop of Brooklyn

    • Fr. Michael Place, STD, President of the Catholic Health Association

    • Sr. Mary Roch Rocklage, RSM, President and CEO of Sisters of Mercy Health System, St. Louis

    • Sr. Judy Cannon, RSM, Leadership Conference of Women Religious

    • Sr. Jane Frances Brady, SC, Administrator, St. Joseph Hospital and Medical Center, Paterson, NJ

    • Sr. Beatrice Hernandez, MD, Department of Oncology, La Porte Hospital (Indiana)

    • Mr. Thomas Corley, Administrator, Lourdes Medical Center, Pasco, WA

    • Mr. Gerry Shea, Asst. to the President for Government Affairs, AFL-CIO

    • Ms. Mary Kay Henry, Director of Organizing, Service Employees International Union

    • Mr. Tom Balanoff, President, SEIU Local 73, Chicago, IL

  • The Subcommittee had its initial meeting in January, 1998, and met in person or by conference call twelve times over a two year period. Early on, the group set as its goal a working paper that would provide assistance to Catholic health care ministry and organized labor about how Catholic social teaching defines a fair and just workplace.

  • After a number of drafts and consultation with the Domestic Policy Committee, the Subcommittee submitted "A Fair and Just Workplace: Principles and Practices for Catholic Health Care" to the Committee at its June, 1999 meeting for review and recommendation. The Working Paper was accepted unanimously with one suggestion that a preface be added to the paper that would explain the process.

  • The Committee recommended that the Working Paper be made available for discussion, consultation, input, and action by key constituencies: bishops, health care leaders, women religious, representatives of organized labor, and others interested in how Catholic social teaching on work and workers' rights should be applied in Catholic health care ministry. The Domestic Policy Committee, through its Subcommittee on Catholic Health Care and Work, would continue to collect and process the feedback from the consultations, and pursue other matters and issues regarding Catholic health care and work which surfaced during the drafting process.

  • The Committee decided to release the document as a Working Paper, not a formal statement of the Domestic Policy Committee or the U. S. Catholic Conference, since it is the result of an extended dialogue involving several groups. The paper does not establish mandates, but offers tools for reflection and action. Its purpose is to assist bishops, health care leaders, sponsors, labor leaders and others who are interested in how Catholic social teaching on work and workers' rights should be applied in Catholic health care ministry .



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