Can I be a union rep?

I am a practicing Catholic and naturally I like to help people out where I can.

At work, I have been encouraged to become a union representative to help colleagues out with their disputes with management and partake in negotiations that go on between workers and managers.

Trade unions generally have a foot in Socialism/Marxism but although all I intend to do is assist colleagues should I be doing it under the principles that trade unions stand by?

Would taking this step hinder conversion?

The right of workers to collectively bargain is recognized by the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church in the USA has been actively involved with Labor unions since the very beginning of the movement.

USCCB’s Economic Justice for All:

  1. The Church fully supports the right of workers to form unions or other associations to secure their rights to fair wages and working conditions. This is a specific application of the more general right to associate. In the words of Pope John Paul II, “The experience of history teaches that organizations of this type are an indispensable element of social life, especially in modern industrialized societies.” Unions may also legitimately resort to strikes where this is the only available means to the justice owed to workers. No one may deny the right to organize without attacking human dignity itself.

The philosophy of the trade union most likely depends on the individuals involved in it. I would encourage you to take part in your union and in resolving labor disputes to the level that you feel comfortable.

Recommended for further reading:
Exerpts on Church and Labor

USCCB’s Economic Justice for All

Leo XIII’s RERUM NOVARUM

Pius XI’s QUADRAGESIMO ANNO

John Paul II’s LABOREM EXERCENS

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