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  • The Union-Friendly Pope Touches Down In DC

    Pope Francis has made issues important to the labor movement a central focus of his reign and with plans to speak in Washington D.C. this week, unions are praising his arrival.

    “Pope Francis’ arrival is a watershed moment for working people in the United States,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in statement. “And an opportunity for every American, regardless of faith, to reexamine the values that drive us as a country.”

    What has made Pope Francis a savior to the labor movement is his interest in economics and workers. Through Wednesday and Thursday the Pope will speak with President Barack Obama at the White House and address a joint-session of Congress. After that he will travel to New York and Philadelphia.

    “His message of inclusion, economic justice, and social progress transcends party and represents the best of humanity,” Trumka also noted. “Working people stand with Pope Francis and look forward to welcoming him to the United States, as he puts forward an agenda that lifts spirits and wages.”

    During his address to Congress, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) plans to live stream his speech. The SEIU hopes his visit will reignite the mission of social justice advocates. The Teamsters official blog noted how his visit could give workers hope.

    Much of his support among labor unions has to do with his teachings. He has warned against the worship of money and insists on “[putting] the economy at the service of peoples.” The message plays well with unions which pride themselves on the claim that they help to make the workplace more fit for workers. They do this through uniting workers in solidarity.

    The labor movement, however, is not always in alliance with Catholic doctrine. They have a long history of using violence and manipulation to get what they want. In 1967 Former Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa was sentenced to jail for bribery, jury tampering and misusing union funds and pensions. He also is believed to have had close connections to the mob.

    Additionally, during the summer of 1934 in Minneapolis, Minn., the Teamsters helped lead a bloody revolt against police.

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