Catholic health workers’ effort to unionize could crowd out Catholics

Catholic health workers’ effort to unionize could crowd out Catholics

Catholic health workers’ effort to unionize could crowd out Catholics


A complex labor dispute between a Californian Catholic healthcare company and its employees could end in an agreement with a union that promotes homosexual rights, the California Catholic Daily reports.

Workers in Santa Rosa have rallied for a “fair election agreement” with the St. Joseph Health System.  The agreement would allow workers to vote on whether to unionize.

St. Joseph Health System was founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange, California.  They insist that they will permit for their workers only a structure created by the National Labor Relations Board, which makes unionization more difficult.

St. Joseph Health System has been accused of various labor law violations, including the intimidation of employees.  The employees are supported by United Healthcare Workers (UHW), a powerful union led by Sal Roselli. 

In 1984-85, Roselli was president of a Lesbian/Gay Democratic Club.  A grand marshal for the 2006 San Francisco LGBT Pride Parade, Roselli has introduced domestic partner compensation into the UHW member benefits.

A political activist in Sacramento, who requested anonymity, told the California Catholic Daily that Roselli’s union is trying to become the exclusive bargaining agent for some St. Joseph employees. 

“This is a very contentious union, and if they get what they want, there will be a full homosexualization of everything. Domestic partner benefits and the like will come from worker dues, and the full muscle of the union will be put behind the homosexual agenda,” the activist said.

The activist alleged that allowing UHW into St. Joseph’s, the Catholic health provider “would be agreeing, in effect, to fire any Catholic who does not agree to support the Culture of Death with his dues. The average nurse pays around $1,000 a year in dues for this, and that money goes to supporting candidates and propositions that support abortion and homosexuality. What kind of Catholic institution would agree to this for their employees?”

The activist said the UHW takeover would be a “done deal” if the employees’ demand for a fair election agreement were met.

Monsignor John Brenkle, a prominent figure in the Santa Rosa diocese, supported the agreement.  In a May 11 editorial for the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, he wrote: 

“…sadly, I see a real disconnect between the St. Joseph Health System’s written code and its actions. Management has employed legal counsel for the purpose of union-avoidance tactics … Some of us have urged the system to negotiate ground rules that are mutually agreed upon to ensure a free and fair election process.”

Monsignor Brenkle said a working paper of the Catholic bishops, “A Fair and Just Workplace: Principles and Practices for Catholic Health Care,” could be used as a model for unionizing efforts.

According to the California Catholic Daily, Monsignor Brinkle spoke to the paper in October about his offer of a dinner with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as part of a fundraising auction for a parish school.  Reportedly, he was not willing to talk to the paper about his support for the unionization of health workers.

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