Resources & Links

Catholic Social Teaching
Human Rights
Jobs in the Labor Movement
Labor Organizations
University Programs
Investigative Reporting

Catholic Social Teaching

Protecting the dignity of work and the rights of workers is one of the major themes of Catholic social teaching. This theme has been addressed in papal encyclicals as well as statements and letters from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).  The basic tenets of Catholic teaching on labor include:

  • the right to productive work
  • the right to decent and fair wages
  • the right to organize and join unions
  • the right to bargain collectively for fair wages and benefits

For access to the many documents that capture the theme of worker dignity, visit the Economic Justice--Economy and the Labor--Employment  pages of the USCCB website.

Below are links to documents and recent statements:


Labor Day Statement 2015

Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami \\ Chairman, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development 

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops 

Read the full statement here.

Past statements:

Msgr. George Higgins authored the Labor Day Statements on behalf of the U.S. Bishops for many years.


Human Rights

Article 23 of the United Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights states that “Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favorable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment,” and “Everyone who works has the right to just and favorable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity” (United Nations, 1948). 

International Labour Organization
The ILO is the international organization responsible for drawing up and overseeing international labor standards. It is the only 'tripartite' United Nations agency that brings together representatives of governments, employers and workers to jointly shape policies and programs promoting decent work for all.

Institute for Global Labour & Human Rights
The Institute for Global Labour & Human Rights, formerly the National Labor Committee, is a nonprofit organization committed to defending the rights of workers in the global economy.

Workers Rights Consortium (WRC)
WRC is an independent labor rights monitoring organization striving to combat sweatshops and protect the rights of workers who make apparel and other products.




Union Summer is an educational internship in which participants are introduced to the labor movement through union organizing campaigns.
WHEN:  June 15 - August 14
WHERE:  2015 sites include New York City, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Jackson, and St. Louis. 
Paid Internship: $400/week stipend
Information and application

The AFL-CIO also offers the Law Student Union Summer program, a 10-week paid internship at locations throughout the nation for 1Ls or 2Ls.


The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees has joined with the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and Harvard Law School to offer opportunities for students of color to experience the labor movement and develop organizing skills.


AFSME sponsors an alternative Spring Break program enabling students to take part in an active campaign and learn the basics of union organizing.  For more information on Union Break, go to  Lodging and transportation during break are provided.


Organizing Beyond Barriers (OBB) is UNITE HERE’s nationally coordinated program to build a progressive alliance of workers and students. Emphasis is on training and fieldwork.  People learn by doing.

Summer Internship Programs:

WHERE: Past locations have included Indianapolis, Chicago, Boston, NYC, Phoenix, San Francisco, Oakland, and LA.
Paid Internship: $450/week stipend

Alta Gracia

Create and manage an educational campaign on the ND campus to raise awareness about Alta Gracia and the story behind this collegiate apparel line, chosen for "The Shirt" again this year.
WHEN:  Academic Year
WHERE:  Campus
Unpaid.  Possibility of academic credit with support of department.
For more information, or to apply, please contact:
Rachel Taber
Alta Gracia Community Education Coordinator

Farm Labor Organizing Committee, AFL-CIO

The Farm Labor Organizing Committee has dramatically changed the conditions of farmworkers across the country by organizing laborers to collectively bargain with their employers. Opportunities vary depending on current campaigns and staffing needs. 

For more information about ways to get involved with the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, go to

For more information, or to apply for a position, please contact: Briana Kemp at

Interfaith Worker Justice Summer Internship

Interfaith Worker Justice offers summer internships focused on providing support to workers' rights campaigns across the country.  As a network of people of faith, Interfaith Worker Justice calls upon those in the religious community to organize, and mobilize others on issues and campaigns aimed at improving wages, benefits, and conditions for low-wage workers. Interns will make phone calls, craft emails and literature, actively engage in meetings with community leaders and union representatives, and organize events for Interfaith Worker Justice. Students looking into this internship must be interested in analyzing economic and political realities through the lens of faith, as well as have a passion for economic and social justice from a theological perspective.

The Center for Social Concerns is able to sponsor one student to participate in the internship with a $2,000 scholarship and $500 travel stipend.  Students would be responsible for their own housing costs.  Students would have the option of earning course credit as well by enrolling in a directed readings class. For more information, contact the Higgins Labor Studies Program at

IWJ Summer Internship
WHEN: June - August 
WHERE: Lower 48 states
Some/variable payment
Deadline: March 30

Student Action with Farmworkers

Into the Fields InternshipStudent Action with Farmworkers is offering internships in the Summer focused on supporting farmworkers by placing students at organizations across the Southeast that work for justice in the fields. By pairing students with the farmworkers, SAF works to improve the conditions for farmworkes and shape students into leaders of the social justice movement. Interns will be placed in four programs: legal assistance, migrant education, health agencies, and community-based organization, based on the interests of the student. High-intermediate Spanish speaking ability is required.

For more information about Student Action with Farmworkers or to apply:

For more information, please contact:
Laxmi Haynes

International Labor Rights Forum

The International Labor Rights Forum is currently seeking interns for their China internship program, Rights for Working Women internship program, Campaign internship program, Human Rights in International Trade internship program, Corporate Social Responsibility internship program, Communications internship program, and Development internship program. ILRF promotes workers' rights globally by networking with unions, academics, and others in the progressive community. Students with an understanding of international human rights and strong skills in a foreign language are preferred.

For more information about the International Labor Rights Forum or its internships:

For more information, or to apply, please contact: Trina Tocco at

Worker Rights Consortium

The Worker Rights Cosortium, an independent monitoring organization that investigates conditions of workers in factories internationally, is offering internships on a rolling basis.  Solid writing and researching skills are required, as well as a respect for workers' rights both in the United States and across the globe.

For more information about the Worker Rights Consortium or its internships:

For more information, or to apply, please contact:
Theresa Haas
5 Thomas Circle NW, Fifth Floor
Washington, DC 20005

City University of New York

The School of Professional Studies at the City University of New York offers Union Semester, a full-time, semester long program. For 32 hours a week, participants will learn about particular labor organizations by working with them firsthand. Participants will also take classes four nights a week, studying the past and future of the labor movement in the United States. For those interested in building a career in labor policy, law, and social justice, participants are awarded a Certificate in Labor Studies from CUNY.

For more information about Union Semester, or to apply:

For more information, please contact:


Jobs in the Labor Movement

Union Jobs Clearinghouse
Working America: Community Affiliate of the AFL-CIO

ABOUT: "Working America is the fastest-growing organization for working people in the country. At 3 million strong and growing, we use our strength in numbers to educate each other, mobilize and win real victories to improve working people’s lives."

Available Jobs: Canvass Organizer, Field Manager

Working America is active in several states and will be expanding across the country in the coming years.

American Federation of Labor and  Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)

ABOUT: "We are the umbrella federation for U.S. unions, with 56 unions representing 12.5 million working men and women. We work to ensure that all people who work receive the rewards of their work—decent paychecks and benefits, safe jobs, respect and fair treatment."

Available Jobs: Variable, see web listing.


ABOUT: "UNITE HERE represents workers throughout the U.S. and Canada who work in the hotel, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, distribution, laundry, and airport industries."

Available Jobs: Variable, see web listing.

Labor Organizations

Catholic Scholars for Worker Justice


The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) is a voluntary federation of 56 national and international labor unions. The AFL-CIO was created in 1955 by the merger of the AFL and the CIO.

The AFL-CIO union movement represents more than 12 million members, including 3.2 million members in Working America, its community affiliate.

Change to Win

The Change to Win Strategic Organizing Center is an effort to unite the 50 million Americans who work in industries that cannot be outsourced or shipped overseas into strong unions that can win them a place in the American middle class -- where their jobs provide good wages, decent working conditions and a voice on the job.  Change to Win includes members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the United Farm Workers of America (UFW), and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW).


UNITE HERE represents workers throughout the U.S. and Canada who work in the hotel, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, distribution, laundry, and airport industries


University Programs

Indiana University Program in Labor Studies at South Bend
Contact:  Paul Mishler, Associate Professor of Labor Studies, 574.520.4469 

Graduate degrees in labor studies:


Programs for Labor Leaders and Workers


Investigative Reporting