It's Sleazy Union-Busters Versus the Pope!

The labor movement has a powerful new ally in the fight for workers' rights.

While the Chamber of Commerce continues its smear campaignagainst the Employee Free Choice Act, the union movement enlisted a powerful ally yesterday in its drive for workers' rights: the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, following the guidance of, yes, the Pope.

As the AFL-CIO blognoted:

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has announced a new step forward for workers at Catholic health facilities: a set of principles to ensure that workers have a fair process to bargain for a better life.

In"Respecting the Just Rights of Workers: Guidance and Options for Catholic Health Care and Unions," the USCCB, in cooperation with Catholic health care providers and the union movement, has laid out guidelines for Catholic health care ministries across the country.

These guidelines, and the process that produced them, are an encouraging model of cooperation and collaboration in protecting workers' freedom to form unions and bargain.

The new guidelines cover seven principles for employers when workers seek a union:

* Respect;
* Access to information;
* Truthful communication;
* Pressure-free environment;
* Expeditious process;
* Honoring employee decisions; and
* Meaningful enforcement of these principles.

UPDATE: The Chamber of Commerce is coming under added fire today in a series of union-sponsored ads onlineand in political newspapersbecause of its alleged "two-faced" position on arbitration: for it when it stacks the deck for Big Business, and against it when workers seek it so they're not illegally denied a union contract. The new ad proclaims, under a photo of a working-class mother and her daughter, "One year after workers form unions, over half are still denied a contract by their employers."