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The American Catholic Diocesan Labor Schools. An Examination of their Influence on Organized Labor in Buffalo and Cleveland
Lubienecki, Paul E.

2013, Doctor of Philosophy, Case Western Reserve University, History.
This study illuminates labor education by the American Catholic Church. Through a Church vetted program of specialized labor education, the laity became an integral component in the growth and development of American organized labor in the Twentieth Century. Utilizing the social encyclicals, the laity and clergy educated workers about their rights and created a cadre of labor leaders and an activist Catholic laity.

The development of the labor schools reflect a unique American interpretation of Church doctrine tailored specifically to conditions in the United States. The Vatican’s concern about Americanism caused some of the American Church hierarchy, in the late nineteenth century, to become ambivalent about overt social action on behalf of labor. The laity searched for a way to implement social reform programs like those of the Progressive or Social Gospel movements. Consequently, after the pronouncement of Quadragesimo Anno, the formation of labor education was implemented by committed members of the laity and activist parish priests who chose to interpret the social encyclicals with an American perspective.

During the period of the Great Depression, the New Deal and Quadragesimo Anno, Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker Movement catalyzed the formation of the Association of Catholic Trade Unionists which in turn led to the establishment of labor schools throughout the nation. As the Cold War developed, Catholic lay labor education became a bulwark against communist infiltration of organized labor. Two of the most prominent schools were located in Buffalo, New York and Cleveland, Ohio.

By concentrating on Catholic labor education in Buffalo and Cleveland, this study demonstrates how vital the labor schools were to these communities. The labor schools in Buffalo and Cleveland present examples of the curriculums and policies developed mutually by the laity and clergy to educate workers (both Catholic and non-Catholic) about their rights and duties and how to apply Christian social teachings in the workplace. Legitimized by the social encyclicals and operated by the laity, the labor schools expanded to become a fundamental part of organized labor which endeavored to build a Christian partnership of labor and management to ensure industrial democracy.



John Grabowski (Committee Chair)
David Hammack (Committee Member)
John Flores (Committee Member)
Paul Gerhart (Committee Member)
379 p.

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Lubienecki, P. (2013). The American Catholic Diocesan Labor Schools. An Examination of their Influence on Organized Labor in Buffalo and Cleveland . (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation). Retrieved from https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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Lubienecki, Paul. "The American Catholic Diocesan Labor Schools. An Examination of their Influence on Organized Labor in Buffalo and Cleveland ." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Case Western Reserve University, 2013. OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center. 24 Sep 2016.

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Lubienecki, Paul "The American Catholic Diocesan Labor Schools. An Examination of their Influence on Organized Labor in Buffalo and Cleveland ." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Case Western Reserve University, 2013. https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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