On Labor Day, observed in many countries around the globe on May 1, Archbishop Fernando Chomali of Conception, Chile warned against workers being “treated as merchandise.”
During Mass to commemorate the feast day of St. Joseph the Worker, Archbishop Chomali emphasized that the “beauty of work lies in the fact that it is done by a person.”
He recalled that during his visit to Chile 25 years ago, Blessed John Paul II said, “Work is the key to the social question. For this reason this celebration is so important. Man’s work is indissolubly linked to God’s will.”
Archbishop Chomali called on business owners to “care for their workers, because they are the great treasure of a company.” He said it was impossible for families to survive on minimum wage, but he recalled that the Church’s teaching is clear that “in order to determine a just wage, the state of the company must be considered.”
“The ideal would be for workers to be able to look to the future, to have a family, raise their children and above all retire with dignity. For this reason we need to work harder so that there will be jobs in companies that form a community,” the archbishop said.
He noted that while Chile has grown economically, it still has a long way to go. “If we want a just and peaceful country, we must work hard to fill this gap. God distributes talents and skills to each of us equally.”
Archbishop Chomali also said educational reform that benefits the poor is urgently needed.
“There are 700,000 young people between the ages of 18 and 28 who do not work or study,” he noted. “These young people are a treasure for the country that we must care for, and we must promote political policies that will enable them to have access to training and jobs.”