You can view a portion of LIUNA’s International General President Terry O’Sullivan’s speech during the Arise Chicago Faith Labor Action Breakfast by going to the Fox Valley Labor News YouTube channel
CHICAGO — LIUNA’s International General President Terry O’Sullivan made it a point to acknowledge that most of the world’s holy books would be stripped bare if passages relating to social justice were cut from them.
O’Sullivan has strong remarks Nov. 24 regarding labor and religion during Arise Chicago’s annual Faith Labor Action Breakfast where he was the keynote speaker. He said Arise Chicago has embraced the prophetic vision of social justice and human rights that is common to many religions, yet is too often ignored by some.
“Defending the dignity of workers is a powerful, righteous and persuasive response, both to those who attack unions, and to those who say religious leaders should stay out of worldly affairs, he explained.
This year, Arise Chicago helped pass a county ordinance to discourage businesses from stealing wages from their employees, participated in the Fight for $15 rallies, and supported and backed workers from CAN-TV during its unionizing efforts.
“When you stand with us on picket lines, at public hearings, and during organizing campaigns, you not only strengthen our cause, you actively live your faith,” O’Sullivan said.
During the breakfast, Arise Chicago presented Fr. Clete Kiley with the Prophetic Leadership award. Kiley is moderator of the curia for the Archdiocese of Chicago and director of Immigration Policy for UNITE HERE international union.
The Chicago Access Network-TV workers were collectively awarded the Faithful Leadership award.
As part of its efforts to secure and educate workers on their workers’ rights, Arise Chicago asked for help in translating its Workers’ Rights Manual from English to Spanish, which would cost an estimated $10,000.
LIUNA’s International union stepped up to the plate, pledging the money for the translation. LIUNA International Vice President Terry Healy said it was the “right thing to do.”
Looking to the future, O’Sullivan said Arise Chicago is showing labor how building alliances can protect what has been accomplished.
“You have built a model for how religious groups and labor unions can work together on common goals. We need to grow this model out and up . . . to build and strengthen religious labor ties,” he added. “This alliance between faith groups and the labor movement, combines the moral power of faith, with the people power of labor to achieve what neither of us could achieve on our own.”