ND a good employer?
Letter to the Editor | Wednesday, January 14, 2009
In Dec., Notre Dame received the 2008 Business of the Year Award from the Michiana Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Those in the administrative offices, the Office of Human Resources, Bob McQuade and members of the Notre Dame family around the world had reason to celebrate.
Celebration … we celebrate the victory for our University as a good business, and “among other things, its staff development and education programs, health care benefits.” For this, Notre Dame has reason to be proud and to celebrate.
However, for just one moment, we must remember, according to Pope Pius XI, “in the first place, the worker must be paid a wage sufficient to support him [her] and his [her] family.” Beyond health care, beyond staff development, Pius XI tells us, first, the worker must be able to support himself/herself and his/her family. Hence, when workers work mopping floors in office buildings downtown by day and at some building on our campus by night just to eat, they are not earning enough from their work at our University alone to support a family. When mothers barely spend a waking moment with their children because they work the night shift in our academic buildings and spend the day standing in lines with food stamps and sleeping when they can, we are not paying attention to the worker as a person.
Pope John Paul II demands (making this not an optional choice), “We must pay more attention to the one who works that to what the worker does. The self-realization of the human person is the measure of what is right and wrong.” The question remains then – does health care (while necessary and important) make up for the lack of a wage sufficient for living a dignified life – does staff development fill in the gaps where food stamps and poor living conditions cannot quite reach?
Hence, Congratulations Notre Dame, for being the Business of the Year of 2008, we are quite proud of you. It is our prayer and hope to the God of the powerful and of those who have not yet realized the power within themselves that in the coming year you might see what those workers you employ actually live through and experience on a daily basis outside of your grand buildings, floors perfectly carpeted and walls freshly painted before accepting such an honor.
We are ND, and are called to a higher standard than this.We may not settle for less than our best when the quality and dignity of human lives are at stake.