Valuing Work, Valuing Workers

September focus:

  • Labor Day
  • Alcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery Month
  • Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept 15 – Oct 15)

I want to remind you THAT GOD CARES about injustice, about oppression, about exploitation.
Bishop Desmond Tutu

We Methodists have the distinct privilege of continuing a journey towards justice that our Methodist forebearers began of church leaders committed to engendering personal and social holiness throughout our society. September is particularly important to our roots because much of the 1908 Social Creed focuses on valuing work and workers. In addition to calling for “equal rights and complete justice for all (people) in all stations of life”, the 1908 Social Creed calls for the abolition of child labor, an end to the “sweating system” and a living wage in every industry among other issues that would protect workers.

Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness and his upper rooms by injustice; who makes his neighbors work for nothing, and does not give them their wages.
Jeremiah 22:13

Throughout the year, we will be identifying resources that help us to better celebrate the contributions of groups of people whose history and contributions to our world are often left untold. In the United States, we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month in September and October. Recently, despite the diversity within the Hispanic/Latino/a community, people of Hispanic heritage have been demonized by a wave of anti-immigrant sentiment. This demonization makes people more vulnerable to exploitation.

For instance, the majority of fruits and vegetables grown in the United States are harvested by hand by farm workers who have migrated from Mexico and countries in Latin America. The wages and working conditions are deplorable (average annual income of a farm worker is $11,000 but many earn far less especially in the east which is far less unionized). The 1908 Social Creed as well as more recent United Methodist resolutions mandate that we advocate for justice for all workers including farm workers.

Finally, September is the month that we hold up those in recovery and seeking recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. Most of us have a friend or family member struggling with an addiction or in recovery. When we become aware of the addiction, we begin to see the toll that it takes on his-/herself, work/livelihood and family. Often a hidden disease, it is crucial that we learn how to support people affected by addiction so that the fabric torn by broken relationships in family, work and community can be made whole again.

If you have come to help me you can go home again.  But if you see my struggles as part of your own survival, then perhaps we can work together.
Lila Watson, an aboriginal woman from Australia

Resources

Among poor people, there's not any question about women being strong -- even stronger than men -- they work in the fields right along with the men. When your survival is at stake, you don't have these questions about yourself like middle-class women do.
Delores Huerta

Labor Day

Alcohol & Drug Addiction

Hispanic Heritage Month