When Faith and Labor Join Forces

On February 9, SEA/SEIU Local 1984 hosted a solidarity event for faith and labor groups to converge around similarities and shared values that included service to the community, justice for all and solidarity with each other. Attendees, which included faith leaders, union members, elected officials and people of good moral conscience met to discuss and offer their ideas on how faith and labor can work toward solving New Hampshire’s economic disparities.

“We are proud to host such an important discussion. We are not alone in our fight for fairer wages and working conditions and that’s an important message to send,” said SEA/SEIU Local 1984 President Richard Gulla.

Guests also heard from Dr. Joerg Rieger, theologian and co-author of Unified We Are a Force: How Faith and Labor Can Overcome America’s Inequalities, who joined via video to speak about the historical importance of the faith and labor relationship. The conversation sparked discussion among the group with participants drawing on different faiths for inspiration.

“There’s a Jewish concept known as tikkun olam, referring to the idea of repairing the world to make it a more welcoming place,” explained state Rep. Katherine Rogers from Concord. “You’re not committed to always having to repair the world, but you are committed to leaving it a better place than you found it.”

Radio show host of The Attitude with Arnie Arnesen agreed: “You should make your heaven here and that puts the responsibility on the labor and faith community,” said Arnesen. “[That responsibility] becomes a reason to be a good steward of the environment, to make sure people are paid reasonable wages and that people can go to a doctor when they’re sick because all those things are part of heaven.”

The Saturday morning discussion is expected to be part of series of collaborations between faith and labor groups to make the Granite State a more equitable place for all working families and individuals.

If you’re a member and interested in being part of the discussion, email mmoriarty@seiu1984.org

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