“In order to achieve social justice… there is a need for ever new movements of solidarity of the workers and with the workers. This solidarity must be present whenever it is called for by the social degrading of the subject of work, by exploitation of the workers and by the growing areas of poverty and even hunger.” These most powerful statement on workers came in 1981 from now St. John Paul II in his social encyclical Laborem Exercens—“On Human Work”—in which he further reaffirmed the support of the Roman Catholic Church for a just wage, available and affordable health care, the right to a retirement pension and workers’ compensation for work-based injuries or illnesses. To secure these rights, St. John Paul II unequivocally declared that workers must have the right of association, “that is, to form associations for the purpose of defending the vital interests of those employed in the various professions. These associations are called labor or trade unions….The experience of history teaches that organizations of this type are an indispensable element of social life” (Pope John Paul II, Laborem Exercens, no. 8).
It is in the light of this clearly enunciated Church Social Teaching that I give my encouragement and support in the name of Church People and Workers Solidarity (CWS) to the members and leaders of different sugar workers unions and organizations from sugar-producing regions and provinces nationwide as they come together for a National Congress to re-establish the national formation of The National Federation of Sugar Workers – Food and General Trade (NFSW-FGT) as the foremost and militant labor federation of the sugar workers that will further advance their struggle in a nationally coordinated approach in coordination with the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) on May 29 to 31, 2017 in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental.
May the God of Peace and Justice bless your collective efforts towards the attainment of the common good.
+MOST REV. GERARDO A. ALMINAZA, DD
Bishop of San Carlos Founding Member, Church People and Workers Solidarity