Saturday, November 19, 2005

Canadian Anglican Workers?

The Canadian Auto Workers' failed bid to unionize United Church ministers may have kept the union label off those particular labourers in Christ's vineyard, but Buzz Hargrove's boys might want to cast an eye at this group of Anglican clerics in Nova Scotia:

The group, called the Association of Professional Anglican Clergy, is autonomous and not tied to the structure of the Anglican Church.

Rev. Randy Townsend, a member of the association’s board of directors, said concerns about health and how health affects the effectiveness of ministers in their work, is the main issue facing the association.

"At any given time, probably ten to 15 per cent of active clergy are out on long-term disability or stress leave," he said. "The clergy who’ve come together to form the association felt the need to take responsibility for some of the things that affect their wellness.

"We are interested in helping our congregations be healthy, spiritually and otherwise, and so it is important to advocate for that on our own behalf as well."

The association will also help ministers upgrade skills and education, and work to inform the public about issues related to their ministry.

Overwork and burnout were the main reasons the United Church ministers cited for leading a union drive. This group's reasons sound the same as well. It could easily be the nucleus of a future union local representing its interests against the diocese's.

A closed shop union at that, since its proposal to help ministers upgrade their skills and education sounds suspiciously like a method to keep clergy who haven't gone through their approved programs from being incardinated into the diocese.

If its members view the ministry not as a vocation but a trade, unions are bound to come calling.

Haligonians may yet be treated to the sight of Anglican clerics picketing Old St. Paul's and St. George's.

Source: Halifax Chronicle-Herald

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