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.

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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

Just Employment at the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice

This past weekend, a record crowd of over 1,700 attended the Ignatian Family Teach-in for Justice (IFTJ) in Washington, DC. The Teach-in is an annual gathering for the Ignatian family to come together in the context of social justice and solidarity. Although members from many Catholic institutions attend IFTJ, it is students from Jesuit high schools and universities who comprise the heart of the gathering. This year, the Just Employment team was proud to be part of the Teach-in and meet lots of the students whose commitment to justice breathes hope into the Church and our communities. As part of our contribution to the Teach-in, we made a short presentation on the Just Employment Policy that you can watch below. We also held a more in-depth breakout session where students from Jesuit colleges and universities learned more about the JJEP model, discussed labor practices on their own campuses, and strategized about how to best support the workers who keep our universities running smoothly. Thank you to all of the students, staff, and faculty who came out to the training. Stay in touch with us at justemploymentpolicy@gmail.com or by following us on Facebook and Twitter. “In the same way that our Jesuit high schools, colleges, and universities teach us to think critically about the world and dare us to be men and women for others, it is our duty to reflect on the structure of our own institutions and challenge them to fulfill their commitment to justice and the common good.   The Church has spoken with great clarity about the importance of a living wage, worker rights, and dignity in the workplace. Yet our Catholic universities... read more

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