Monday, June 30, 2014

Faith Leaders Condemn SCOTUS Decision in Harris v.Quinn

Faith Leaders Condemn Supreme Court Decision: Ruling in Harris v. Quinn Will Hurt Caregivers and the People They Serve

**Partner Organizations and Quotes from Individual Faith Leaders Listed Below**

WASHINGTON, DC—In response to the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court today that weakens the collective bargaining power ultimately jeopardizes the ability of seniors and people with disabilities to get the reliable care they need to remain at home, the PICO National Network, Faith in Public Life, and nearly one dozen, non-partisan and multi-cultural faith-based organizations issued the following statement and words of support:

“Today, the Supreme Court issued a decision in Harris v. Quinn that undermines the labor rights of Illinois home care workers and puts at risk the quality of care for seniors and people with disabilities.  The 5-4 decision also compromises the future of critical services we all need while putting wages and benefits at risk for millions more.

“People, who bathe, feed and care for the sick and the elderly in our society, as well as those who protect and serve our communities such as firefighters, police officers, nurses and teachers, must themselves be treated with dignity and respect. That includes the ability to bargain collectively for fair wages, good benefits, safe workplaces and higher standards for the services our communities need.

“While we are deeply disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision and its impact on home care workers, we are relieved that the Court reaffirmed the long-standing collective bargaining rights of public sector employees.  As people of faith we believe in the dignity of all work and the fundamental right of all workers to organize for better pay, benefits and working conditions.”

“Today, we stand up in solidarity with the millions of those working so hard to bring comfort to so many.  We reaffirm their sacred and constitutional right to join together to fight for better lives for themselves, their families and those for whom they care.”

Christian Community Development Association (CCDA), Faith in Public Life, Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ), National Latino Evangelical Coalition (NaLEC), NETWORK, PICO National Network, Presbyterian Church USA, Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, Sojourners

“Home health care aides provide one of the most important services in our society—caring for the elderly, disabled and infirm.  But it’s difficult to provide quality care to others when you’re worried about putting food on your own family’s table.  We must treat all workers fairly by paying them a living wage and allowing them to join together to improve their own working conditions. Our commitment to Biblical justice demands that we speak out on behalf of these workers. ”—Rev. Noel Castellanos, Chief Executive Officer, Christian Community Development Association (CCDA).

"The care and compassion that home healthcare providers give the sick and the elderly echoes the healing ministry of Jesus. These hardworking, underpaid workers deserve the dignity afforded by a voice in the work place, but the Supreme Court struck a blow to this principle today.”Rev. Jennifer Butler, Chief Executive Office, Faith in Public Life (FPL).

“Homecare workers provide critical tasks for families and the society.  Like other workers, they deserve to have voice and representation in their jobs and advocates for improving wages and benefits.  The Supreme Court should help us move toward, instead of hindering, serving the common good.” Kim Bobo, Executive Director, Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ).

“In a democracy one of the greatest gifts is being able to stand up and have a voice in decisions that impact your life.  As an Evangelical I support the right of these hard-working women and men to have a say in their working conditions so they can build better lives for themselves and their families.”— Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition (NALEC).

The practical impact of today’s decision will be to make it harder for everyday heroes to deliver quality public services to millions of Americans all across the country. This decision, however, does not stop the resolve of working people who come together to have their voices heard make real change in communities."— Rev. Michael-Ray Mathew, Director of Clergy Organizing, PICO.

In the PC (USA), we have long supported the rights of workers to come together and collectively bargain for the good of all. Today’s Harris v. Quinn decision is a step backward for all workers, for as we rise together, so together do we fall. The services of home health care workers, who are disproportionately women and people of color, are essential for older adults and people with disabilities, as well as their families, who all depend on a caring, competent, and stable workforce that enables living at home and aging with dignity. That these workers would be denied the basic human right to organize for better lives, wages, and working conditions is a travesty and a shame on this nation.” — The Rev. J. Herbert Nelson, Director for Public Witness, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

“Today marks a major step backwards for racial and economic justice.  More than 9 out of 10 home care workers in the U.S. are women, and nearly half are women of color.  Racist politicians ensured that home care workers were excluded from New Deal labor protections in the 1930s, now the Supreme Court says they do not even have the right to come together to fight for a better deal.  This is a moral outrage. We will continue to support home care workers in the fight for their human dignity.”—Dr. Iva Carruthers, General Secretary, Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference
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PICO National Network is the largest grassroots, faith-based organizing network in the United States. PICO works with 1,000 religious congregations in more than 200 cities and towns through its 60 local and state federations. PICO and its federations are non-partisan and do not endorse or support candidates for office. PICO urges people of faith to consult their faith traditions for guidance on specific policies and legislation. Learn more at