Catholic Spirit workers, supporters protest outside cathedral


With the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis set to dissolve their union at the end of the month, workers at The Catholic Spirit newspaper took their concerns directly to the church Sunday, protesting outside morning mass at the Cathedral of St. Paul.

The protest – organized by the St. Paul Regional Labor Federation and the Minnesota Newspaper Guild, which has represented workers at The Catholic Spirit since 1965 – drew about 50 supporters from the faith and labor communities.

Protesters talked with parishioners about the archdiocese’s refusal to honor Catholic Spirit workers’ request to keep their collective bargaining rights – a decision, workers say, that ignores church teachings regarding the value of labor unions and collective bargaining in a socially just workplace.

“I sure don’t refer to this as social justice, if this is how you treat people that have worked for you for as many years as we have,” Catholic Spirit employee Marilyn Rivera said. “I think it’s pretty un-Christian, to be honest with you.”

Deb Rotter, who has worked at The Catholic Spirit for 28 years, said she is “heartbroken” by the archdiocese’s decision to walk away from nearly 50 years of collective bargaining with the Guild. She said workers are still waiting for an explanation from Archbishop John Nienstedt.

“I’m very disappointed in him,” Rotter said. “I don’t understand why he’s treating us this way, and I’m heartbroken.”

The Guild is asking supporters to contact Archbishop Nienstedt and ask him to respect The Catholic Spirit workers’ request to keep their union. To reach the archbishop, call (651) 291-4511, or fill out the e-mail form on the archbishop’s website.