Just Employment Policy

The model policy and policy guide offer a vision for how our institutions can realize those values.

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The Just Employment Policy is supported by students, workers, faculty, and administrators from colleges and universities across the country who believe our campus employment practices should reflect our values.


The model policy and policy guide offer a vision for how our institutions can realize our values and the importance of living wages and the right of workers to a dignified workplace.


Colleges and universities have the potential to act as model employers, recognizing the rights of their workers and committing to pay them living wages. Learn about what’s happening on campuses like yours.

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Show your support for the Just Employment Policy by connecting with us and learning about how you can get involved to advance worker justice on your campus and in your community.

The Latest

Just Employment at Loyola Marymount and Beyond

This past October at Loyola Marymount, the largest Jesuit and Catholic university on the West Coast, the Loyola community gathered for a profound dialogue on just employment practices in higher education. The event took place as part of the CSJ Center for Reconciliation and Justice and the Bellarmine Forum‘s “People, Planet, Profit – Business Today, Tomorrow – What Next?” conference and featured a panel of esteemed LMU faculty members and students, a Just Employment Project representative, and the anonymous testimony of two Loyola Marymount employees. You can view the event in its entirety here: Just Employment at LMU and Beyond from LMU CSJ Center on Vimeo. Dr. Matthew Petrusek, a professor in the LMU Department of Theological Studies, outlined the principles of Catholic social teaching that provide the universal ground for just compensation and the right to organize: association, participation, solidarity, subsidiarity, and the common good. He also spoke about the difficulty of applying these principles to concrete settings and encouraged everyone working to address the question of just employment to act in a “disposition of mutual charity, not mutual suspicion.” Dr. Cathleen McGrath, an associate professor of Management and chair of LMU’s faculty committee on mission and identity, challenged the misnomer that business orthodoxy prescribes the lowest wages possible. She highlighted companies that have succeeded by treating their employees justly, including a great example within Loyola Marymount: the Loyola Marymount University Children’s Center. Over the past decade, the Center has increased the lowest hourly wages paid to teachers from $12.95 to $17.50, well above a living wage in Los Angeles and the state average for child care teachers of $11.93 an hour. LMU’s children center has also invested in teacher training and development... read more

Open Letter Supporting a Just Employment Policy for Jesuit Institutions

“Please, let us fight for this: the justice of work.” Pope Francis, March 23, 2015 Institutions of Jesuit higher education today are beginning to grapple with many of the same forces that are contributing to growing inequality in the United States and around much of the world. The contracting out of employment to private concerns that do not pay living wages and oppose workers’ basic right to organize, the increasing reliance on poorly compensated part-time or contingent employees who lack benefits, and the introduction of new technologies in ways that undermine the human dimension of work threaten the Jesuit character of our institutions and contradict their mission to “educate the whole person.” Our institutions must embrace their responsibilities as both sites of education and as anchor institutions in their communities. We must not operate institutions that provide opportunities for those whom they educate while overlooking the exploitation of those upon whose labor those very institutions depend. We must not operate institutions that set a poor example as employers in our communities. To ensure that our institutions remain faithful to their vision as they navigate the difficult economic terrain of they face, it is vitally important that our institutions commit themselves to a Just Employment Policy that recognizes and affirms these basic principles: The right of all workers to a living wage The right of all workers to a harassment-free and dignified workplace The right to organize and bargain collectively as outlined in the National Labor Relations Act and its jurisprudence The preference for full-time over part-time work Encouraged by the witness that Pope Francis has given against an economy in... read more

Protect the Student Witness to the Plight of Campus Workers at Loyola

It is important to start at the heart of the matter. Campus dining hall employees at Loyola University Chicago, who are employed by Aramark, are paid low wages and lack decent health care benefits. Although workers serve the student body with care and devotion, management forbids them from talking to students to prevent them from getting too close. Workers are also barred from speaking amongst themselves in their native languages, even if that means having to rely on others to communicate on their behalf. The lack of basic dignity and respect from Aramark is epitomized by the fact that pay raises for workers are capped at 25 cents per year. Despite Aramark’s best efforts, students and workers have succeeded in building relationships and sharing their respective concerns about the treatment of workers on Loyola’s campus. So when workers were due for a new contract, students were there to support them. They organized a peaceful demonstration where members of the student body, faculty, and other community allies gathered in solidarity with Aramark staff who work hard to take care of them every day. During the protest, a peaceful delegation entered the student union and presented a petition to Bill Langlois, the campus representative for Aramark. For all of five minutes students expressed their support for a fair contract in a clear yet respectful manner and then left to continue their protest outdoors. By addressing Aramark supervisors, the students were pursuing the sort of “encounter” and dialogue that Pope Francis has called for in addressing the problems of those who feel oppression. This innocuous delegation led Loyola administrators to target four... read more

If We Are Who We Say We Are: Justice for Faculty at Loyola University of Chicago

For centuries, the Church has offered a strong and principled vision on the dignity of work and justice for working people. Pope Leo XIII first recognized the right of workers to a living wage, decent working conditions, and the freedom to organize in an 1891 encyclical titled Rerum Novarum. In Laborem Excercens, Pope John Paul II reiterated the importance of organized labor, describing unions as “an indispensable element of social life” (no. 20). As recently as 2009, Pope Benedict XVI echoed his predecessors in calling for an even greater emphasis on the promotion of workers’ associations in Caritas in Veritate (no. 25). Drawing from the Church’s social doctrine, in which the freedom of association is enshrined, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops stated: “No one may deny the right to organize without attacking human dignity itself” (Economic Justice for All, no. 104). When Pope Francis visited Bolivia this past July, he concluded his remarks by reminding the crowd that the very future of humanity “is fundamentally in the hands of peoples and in their ability to organize.” Although the Church has played an important role in the struggle for worker justice, putting these teachings into practice at Catholic institutions often causes tension. Recently, the Loyola University of Chicago decided to oppose an organizing drive among its contingent faculty. Soon after non-tenure-track professors (both adjuncts and full-time) filed for a union election, the University hired an outside firm to curtail the drive and launched a web page with misleading claims about union representation. The most troubling aspect of the University’s response has been its legal position on the matter. University... read more

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