I am writing to express my concerns as a student of Saint Martin’s University. In 2016, Saint Martin’s adjunct faculty voted 2 to 1 in favor of a Union, and as of 2017 full time faculty voted 3-1 to do the same. I have watched the president, Roy Heynderickx, continually disregard our faculty’s desire to form a union. This means teachers remain severely underpaid and continue to lack benefits, even when they have joined together to achieve a better work environment. That isn’t Catholicism, it’s a cutthroat business move counter to our school’s core values.
Pope Francis himself has commented on this phenomenon; urging these “Catholics” to look in the mirror and admit they are “not Christian, [if] I don’t pay my employees proper salaries, I exploit people, [I lead] a double life.”
It’s time for Saint Martin’s-- and Roy Heynderickx, specifically-- to exercise their Catholic Benedictine values of Dignity of Work and Respect for All Persons. That means recognizing the union, and working with them to create a more just faith community.
To put it in the succinct words of a U.S. Catholic Bishop, “No one may deny the right to organize without attacking human dignity itself.”