But now, sad to say, the Episcopal Church (USA) has managed to eclipse itself. This latest example involves far more than ECUSA's attorneys, and its Presiding Bishop (who personally employs and directs them). For I have uncovered incontrovertible evidence of hypocrisy that permeates all those in the upper ranks at 815 Second Avenue -- along with the gathered members of the Executive Council, who hail from all the provinces of the Church, and yea, even the very deputies attending General Convention itself.
As I did in the previous post, I shall simply let the hypocrisy stand on its own, without further comment (except that I have added bold emphasis where appropriate). Behold first what the minutes of ECUSA's Executive Council meeting of October 5-8, 2009, in Memphis, Tennessee, have to say on the subject of boycotting certain hotel chains who, as a cost-cutting measure, fire their union workers (you will want to remember this until the very end):
Ms Varghese moved A&N001 – Hyatt Hotels.A&N 001TO: Executive Council
FROM: Standing Committee on Advocacy and Networking
DATE: October 8, 2009
RE: Hyatt Hotel Chain
Resolved, That the Executive Council, meeting in Memphis, Tennessee, October 5-8, directs the Executive Officers of General Convention and the Office of General Convention to refrain from using the Hyatt hotel chain for General Convention and its related bodies and staff, until housekeeping staff summarily fired from its Massachusetts hotels and replaced by contract workers are offered the opportunity to be restored to their original employment and work conditions and provided with back pay for time missed due to their fall 2009 layoffs; and be it furtherResolved, That the Executive Council expresses its support for these long-term employees and their efforts to return to their work positions; and be it furtherResolved, That Council directs the Executive Officers to notify Hyatt of this decision; and be it further
Resolved, That the Standing Committee on Advocacy and Networking for Mission request the General Convention Office to monitor the development of negotiations between Hyatt and the affected housekeeping staff and report to the Committee at the February 2010 meeting of Executive Council.Explanation:Three Hyatt hotels in Boston and Cambridge fired 98 veteran housekeeping staff on 31 August 2009 with less than a day’s notice.
These staff, who had received a livable wage and health benefits for as long as twenty years, were replaced overnight by outsourced workers being paid minimum wage without benefits.
The General Convention deputation of the Diocese of Massachusetts, lay, clerical, and episcopal, asks unanimously that General Convention and its related bodies boycott Hyatt hotels until this injustice is rectified. This boycott would be consistent with the Church’s faithful witness to economic justice and fair treatment for all workers.
Ms Jane Cosby moved to amend the resolution by adding a resolve: “And be it further resolved we share this decision with our ecumenical partners and invite them to join us in this action; and it be further.” The amendment was duly seconded and carried. The amended resolution carried unanimously.
And now, here is what happened just two and a half months later with ECUSA's own unionized cleaning staff at 815 Second Avenue in New York, according to this story in the New York Post:
They worked for years cleaning and maintaining the Episcopal Church Center in midtown Manhattan. But after they were fired on Dec. 30, nine hard-working people are in desperate need of divine intervention.And that is your Episcopal Church (USA). Hypocrisy is its middle name, and defines how it goes about its daily business. In fact, even a candidate for the Episcopal priesthood -- who is also a member of the Communist Party USA -- admits as much (emphasis again added):
"We came to work on Dec. 30 as every day, hoping to leave a little earlier to celebrate the new year," said Bronx native Héctor Miranda, a father of three. "But when we got to the building we were told that we no longer worked there. Just like that. They picked the date well to fire us."
Now, without the means to support his family, Miranda has no idea how he will pay the rent.
"Even worse," he said, "without health coverage I don't know how I am going to pay for my wife's treatment. She is a diabetic, you know."
The workers lost their jobs - which paid standard wages and benefits - when the church canceled the contract with Paris Maintenance, a union cleaning contractor, and replaced it with the nonunion Benjamin Enterprises.
. . .
"We have called Benjamin Enterprises and asked to keep our jobs, but we haven't received any response," the workers said in a letter addressed to presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, and to Bonnie Anderson, president of the church's house of deputies.
"We believe that the Episcopal Church would not want to create more poverty in this world, so we are hopeful that the church will do everything in its power to help us regain our jobs," the letter said. It was signed by, among others, Max Fullner and Raymond Hines, who worked at the church for 42 years; Ives Jean Pierre, 39 years, and Ahmed Alsaidy, 27 years. The way they were just suddenly terminated after all those years of service speaks volumes to the injustice done to them.
Last Thursday, more than 100 people gathered in front of the church to support the workers and ask church officials to help them get their jobs back.
"They [church officials] just looked out the windows," said Colombian-born Andrea Saavedra, 32, who worked at the church building for two years and 16 for Paris Maintenance.
"It needs to be clear that looking for a new contract is a normal business procedure," said church spokeswoman Neva Rae Fox.
But a church is not supposed to be a business and Saavedra, the single mother of a 12-year-old daughter, said: "One would expect better from church people, one would expect them to be examples of fairness and kindness."
For Alsaidy, an immigrant from Yemen and an American citizen, losing his job has been devastating. The father of six frets about losing the family's health care coverage.
"I have to work to support my family," said a desperate Alsaidy. If I cannot make the mortgage we could lose our house."
Linda Watts, chief operating officer of the Episcopal Church, put out an official statement: "Budget constraints have prompted The Episcopal Church to review all contracts and to implement cost-cutting measures where possible," she said. No mention of the plight of the nine men and women thrown out to the streets or of lending them a helping hand.
"Good luck, we wish you all the best," read the note the workers found in their lockers on Dec. 30. The only thing missing was "Happy New Year."
“The charge of hypocrite sticks,” said Tim Yeager, a union attorney and organizer for the United Auto Workers, who addressed a recent luncheon of liberal church activists in Chicago about the controversy. Yeager sits on the board of the Consultation, an umbrella organization of liberal groups within the church.
“We [the denomination] look really bad as a labor movement right now,” Yeager said.
. . . In addition to being on the clergy ordination track in the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, Yeager is also a member of the Communist Party USA. In June, Yeager was named chair of a newly established Religion Commission within the party.
“We want to reach out to religious people and communities, to find ways of improving our coalition work with them, and to welcome people of faith into the party,” Yeager said in the Communist publication People’s World. “We invite questions and responses from people who would like to dialogue with us on matters pertaining to religion, Marxism and the struggle for more peaceful, just and secure world.”
Mr. Yeager also takes his bow as the true author of Resolution D039 ("Fixing Our Broken Labor Laws") and of Resolution D048 ("Adoption of a Single-Payer Universal Health Care Program"), both of which were adopted last summer in Anaheim at GC 2009.
Readers of this blog know that I love the occasional satirical piece, as a way of poking holes in the puffed-up hypocrisy of our national church officials, who regularly profess one thing, but then do its opposite. But even if I wanted to, I could not make stuff up as half as good as the reality which ECUSA regularly dishes up. For still one more example of what I mean, please review the text of Resolution A&N 001 above, which was adopted unanimously by the Executive Council at its October 2009 meeting. And now read this, which closes the article linked earlier (bold added, of course):
. . . In 2006, the Episcopal Church adopted a policy to hold future conventions in union-staffed hotels, when possible. Indianapolis, the 2012 General Convention site, does not have any major unionized hotels. A non-union Hyatt hotel has been selected for the General Convention.
Well (as a certain Canon quoted occasionally in these pages is wont to say), there it is.