Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

United Church Considering Unionizing Clergy In Canada

Written by Rev. H.A. Bergsma
The Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW) has launched a membership drive to unionize United Church ministers. Although some United Church ministers consider it a good thing, the Rev. Dr. Jim Sinclair, General Secretary of the General Council of The United Church of Canada, has protested. Following the announcement he stated that "Trade unions can and do work for good in society, but they are not a good fit for United Church clergy." He further explained that in the United Church of Canada the role of the minister is complex. It is based on a covenantal relationship between different parties, under God, rather than a contractual one between employer and employee. "Labour relations legislation was not designed or intended to regulate the relationship between a minister and the church." He also said, "Unionization of the clergy would fundamentally change the theological understanding of the covenant role of a minister within the United Church of Canada, and the character of the relationship with her or his congregation. It is also difficult to imagine how ministers could be members of a bargaining unit and at the same time continue to exercise their presbytery responsibilities of governance and management with the United Church of Canada." (From Presbyterians-week)

At least one voice of common sense has spoken up. It boggles the mind why a militant union such as CAW wants to get involved with a religious body, and vice versa.

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