Rev. Laurel Scott
Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Coalition (MIRA)
Worker justice issues affect everyone; for we are all workers and we are always at work, whether our work is formally recognized or not.
Some of us are valued for our contributions in the world outside the home. This valuation may manifest in the amount of compensation and benefits we receive in exchange for our work.
Others may not experience official, formal recognition for our work, whether we volunteer outside the home in a charitable setting or whether our work is the result of roles we play inside the home, such as mother, father, sibling or child. As a mother or father, we may find ourselves being the caregiver for young children, and teacher and mentor for older children, or we may be the caregiver for a parent or sibling who might be unable to care for him/herself. In these roles, our compensation comes in the form of love and lifelong, mutually supportive relationships.
"When the day's work was over, the owner of the vineyard instructed his foreman, 'Call the workers in and pay them their wages. Start with the last hired and go on to the first.'" – Matthew 20:7-9
All work and all workers, however, are valuable to God, but not all workers are valued and treated fairly in our society. This is the chief concern of those of us with a passion for worker justice issues.
Since many professionals and those with a fair degree of formal education have been trained to represent themselves, there is not often the need to speak out on their behalf. So we find ourselves drawn to considering the issues affecting those with the least amount of formal education and whose work is valued least in the society.
We work on minimum wage and living wage issues, on questions of healthcare for the working poor, on working conditions, lack of benefits for those at the bottom of the employment ladder, and the immigrant worker. These issues affect the state of our economy and the state of our society. These issues affect our neighbors, our friends, our sisters and brothers in Christ.
Through Labor in the Pulpit, hundreds of United Methodist congregations nationwide have focused at least one worship service during the month of September on the struggles of low-wage workers, their families, and religious communities to secure living wages and good benefits. The Massachusetts Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice invites you to celebrate the sacred link between faith, work, and justice. See the resource list above for more.
Interfaith Worker Justice also supports sensible and humane immigration policies that protect the rights of immigrant workers and preserve their families.