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Right-to-work law is 'unjust,' says retired Michigan bishop

December 11, 2012

A retired Catholic bishop in Michigan has denounced a right-to-work bill passed by the state’s legislature as an “unjust law,” saying that it is “designed to break unions,” and claiming that the US bishops’ conference has condemned such legislation.

“Right-to-work laws go against everything we believe,” said Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, a retired auxiliary of the Detroit archdiocese. He made a series of astonishing claims about such laws:

They lower wages for all workers. They lessen benefits for all workers. They increase poverty for all people.

Bishop Gumbleton, who retired reluctantly in 2006, has frequently taken strong public stands favoring liberal positions on both political and theological issues. In 2009, Bishop Alexander Sample of Marquette, Michigan asked Bishop Gumbleton not to speak in his diocese, explaining that he had taken this action because of Bishop Gumbleton’s “very public position on certain important matters of Catholic teaching, specifically with regard to homosexuality and the ordination of women to the priesthood.”


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Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Dec. 11, 2012 7:54 PM ET USA

    Gumbleton is wrong again. Why does he even get the publicity?

  • Posted by: Defender - Dec. 11, 2012 5:25 PM ET USA

    How about teachers and others who work for a diocese? Every pope in the modern era has stated that unions are a right of every worker to participate in (and not one pope exempted the Church from this right). Why then have the bishops continued to ignore all of these popes and pay their own lay-workers less (in some cases, far less)? Before the bishops openly support unions, shouldn't they take a page from their own social justice playbook and apply it to themselves?

  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Dec. 11, 2012 11:11 AM ET USA

    In the 1980s the discredited Gumbleton raised funds to "match dollar for dollar" aid to the Communist Sandinista regime in El Salvador. His dollar-for-dollar match was to oppose Reagan's support for the rebel army. Jesuits and Maryknoll priests were well-represented in the Sandinista regime. Regarding Gumbleton's quote above, a labor-relations expert said on the radio this morning that wages are on the order of 25% higher for workers in right-to-work states. But who cares about the facts?