Gamaliel Moral Statement on a Respectful and Just Workplace

Posted by: Website Administrator on 12/12/2012

Ideally, the relationship between employer and employee is one marked by honesty, trust, and mutual respect.  Historically, however, that has not been the reality; the relationship has—more often than not—been marked by an imbalance of power in favor of the employer.  It has been necessary, and even desirable, for employees to join together to restore a balance of power and fairness between employer and employee in the negotiation of rights and responsibilities as they relate to the workplace.

At a time in this country when income inequality is rising rapidly and the middle class is being systematically dismantled by policies that favor the rights of the employer over the employee, it is the obligation of good government to ensure the common good by restoring the balance of power between employer and employee.  To that end we urge all governors and state legislatures to be guided by the following set of ethical and moral principles when considering legislation relating to union activity.

As a network of over 1,200 faith-based institutions across 17 states, representing over 1 million people of faith, Gamaliel faith-leaders stand with workers
whose unions are being attacked and undermined. This is taking place with the increasing support of some leaders in government, in sharp contrast to the moral imperative for governing bodies to protect the common good and care for the least among us.

Gamaliel faith-leaders see this as a broad attempt to undermine democracy and democratic institutions that provide political and economic power to the interest of workers, especially the poor, people of color, the elderly, and all marginalized communities.

Driven by our many faith traditions, Gamaliel faith-leaders believe the ability for workers to effectively organize into a union is a matter of moral, ethical, and theological principle. Denying that right violates a social contract of fairness and justice which allows workers to join together to effectively negotiate and maintain a balance of power; the very notion of fairness precludes such power imbalances between labor and capital.

Gamaliel faith-leaders implore all governors and state legislatures who may be considering similar corporate-funded efforts to erode the political power of workers to consider instead the common good over political maneuvering.

Workers in states with strong unions receive higher wages and benefits - even non-union workers*. Unions play an important role by providing a voice for workers. Gamaliel faith-leaders believe that unions protect a respectful and just workplace, for the good of workers and their families, and to the betterment of the entire society.

Gamaliel faith-leaders are calling on people of faith to stand up and join the national effort to protect the rights of workers to organize and maintain unions. We see this as part of the legacy that people of faith have played in standing up against slavery, struggling for democracy, and leading the Civil Rights movement.

*Deakin, Simon; Reed, Hannah (2000). "The Contested Meaning of Labour Market"

Signed on Behalf of Gamaliel,

Rev David Bigsby, Gamaliel Council of Presidents Chair

Rabbi Ron Symons, Gamaliel National Clergy Caucus Chair

Father Fred Thelen, Gamaliel of Michigan President

Rev William Wyne, JONAH Clergy Caucus Chair

Father Brian Coleman, JONAH President

Rev Charles E Williams III, MOSES President

Brendan Flanagan, ISAAC Executive Director

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