WASHINGTON (November 15, 2000) -- The Catholic Bishops of the South have issued a pastoral message on justice
in the workplace, "Voices and Choices."
Based on interviews with poultry processing workers and poultry growers, the pastoral is addressed to Catholic pastors and other people of good will on workers' rights in relation to the poultry industry.
"We are called to continuous growth in the awareness of God' presence in our daily lives," the Bishops said. "Sometimes the focus of this awareness is close at hand, such as our family and friends; other times it is not so obvious, such as those who work to supply the food we place on our table. In this letter we will discuss the plight of those in the poultry industry, people who provide the plentiful chicken that we find on the dinner plate at home or at the local restaurant."
"While this letter will focus on the lack of 'voices and choices' for many of our brothers and sisters who work in the poultry industry, we do not mean to single out this one productive business as unique. We use the poultry industry as an example of other businesses, in agriculture and manufacturing, which share the same challenges, whether furniture is being made, produce picked, or livestock raised under contract."
The pastoral letter was made public at a news conference Nov. 15, during the semi-annual meeting of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, with Bishop Robert N. Lynch of St. Petersburg and other members of the Catholic Committee of the South. Forty-one bishop- members of the Catholic Committee of the South signed the document.
Other groups which helped in the project were The National Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice, the Women's Center for Economic Alternatives of Ahoskie, N.C., the Alabama Contract Poultry Growers Institute, the Delmarva Poultry Justice Alliance, the Glenmary Home Missioners, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, the community of Sacred Heart Monastery in Cullman, Ala., the community of St. Benedict's Monastery in Pittsburgh, St. Anthony Messenger Press, and a host of diocesan officers and personnel.
"Voices and Choices" appears in both English and Spanish in a single book
Visit the website: WWW.POULTRY-PASTORAL.ORG.