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With God on Our SideThe Struggle for Workers' Rights in a Catholic Hospital$
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Adam D. Reich

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801450662

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801450662.001.0001

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A Struggle over New Things

A Struggle over New Things

Contesting Catholic Teaching

(p.78) 3 A Struggle over New Things
With God on Our Side

Adam D. Reich

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines how Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital (SRMH) fits into a larger “Catholic” strategy to organize Catholic hospitals within the national Service Employees International Union (SEIU). It first considers SEIU’s “Catholic strategy,” an approach to organize the largely nonunion Catholic hospital industry, and how the centerpiece of the union’s campaign shifted from the workplace to the religious arena. The union would seek to convince the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange that they had a moral obligation to allow hospital workers a “free and fair union election.” The Sisters would seek to reconcile their position on unions with Catholic social teaching. This chapter explains how SEIU was able to wage a battle over SRMH’s moral standing and discusses the terrain of the theological debate that would come to dominate the unionization campaign—the theological arguments that the hospital and union came to make about the relationship between Catholic teaching and labor unions.

Keywords:   unions, Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, hospitals, Service Employees International Union, Catholic strategy, hospital industry, Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange, Catholic social teaching, unionization

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