Bad news for employers and workers who oppose unions: you’re going to hell. That is according to a group of Catholic scholars who claim that

…actions to thwart union organizing campaigns, stifle contract talks, unilaterally roll back wages and benefits, and break existing labor agreements are a “grave violation of Catholic social doctrine on labor unions.”

“This violation of Catholic doctrine constitutes material grounds for mortal sin because it stands in grave violation of both the letter and spirit of Catholic social doctrine,” said the document, titled “Union Busting Is a Mortal Sin.”

In laying out their argument, the scholars said efforts to deny workers the right to organize violate the First, Fifth and Seventh commandments regarding idolatry, scandal and theft, respectively.

It sounds like Catholics with a different empirical understanding about the impacts of unions could just as easily claim that unionization is actually the mortal sin:

“The church’s support for labor unions is rooted in the philosophical principle of freedom of association and the moral principle of a just or living wage,” it continued, explaining that Catholic teaching has long held that workers have “the natural right of free assembly.”

The scholars explained that under church teaching, such a right is rooted in divine law and that efforts to break a labor organization using civil laws is comparable to idol worship, which is contrary to the First Commandment.

Freedom of association could just as easily apply to the rights of non-union workers to be hired at unionized places of work, which would support right to work laws. Also, if you believe that unions cause unemployment, then they violate the principal of a just or living wage, since no wage is obviously not a living wage.

I’d say that if you believe the negative impacts of unions you can accept the analytical framework of these scholars and feel relatively safe that you’re probably not going hell… for this anyway.

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