On September 17, 2015, Archbishop Cupich gave an address to the Chicago Federation of Labor in the Plumbers' Union Hall. Many of his words reflect some of the key tenets of Catholic Social Teaching, not only the Dignity of Work and Rights of Workers, but also Solidarity, the Option for the Poor and Vulnerable, and the Call to Community and Participation. He framed all of these in the context of Human Life and Dignity, saying:
"Work and unions are important not simply for what a worker 'gets,' but how they enable a worker to provide for a family and participate in the workplace and society. Unions are important not simply for helping workers get more, but helping workers be more, to have a voice, a place to make a contribution to the good of the whole enterprise, to fellow workers and the whole of society."
The Archbishop reinforced the connection between the Catholic Church and the labor movement:
"Our ties are built not on personalities, though we have been blessed with great leaders, but on enduring principles: the dignity of each and every human being made in the image and likeness of God, the dignity of work and the rights of workers. The principles of solidarity, which give priority to the poor and vulnerable, of community and the common good. I seek an ongoing relationship that honors the past and builds a strong and better future for all the people we both serve here in different ways in Chicago and the broader metropolitan area. I believe a strong, respectful, effective and open relationship between the Church and the labor movement is good for Labor, good for the Church and good for Chicago."
As he spoke of Solidarity, which "means that we are in this life together, that we are connected to one another, and that we can never operate as if we were isolated and self-sufficient agents." Archbishop Cupich quoted Pope Francis:
"I would like to make an appeal to those in possession of greater resources, to public authorities and to all people of good will…: never tire of working for a more just world, marked by greater solidarity! …Everybody, according to his or her particular opportunities and responsibilities, should be able to make a personal contribution to putting an end to so many social injustices…Solidarity means seeing others not as rivals or statistics, but brothers and sisters. And we are all brothers and sisters!"
Watch the full address below, or read the full text here.