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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Feb. 10, 2003 — Do labor unions offer the best protection for the worker? Liberating Labor , a new monograph in the Acton Institute’s Christian Social Thought Series , questions the assumption that Christian social teaching unequivocally endorses all forms of trade unionism. In light of the Church’s defense of freedom of association, for example, compulsory union membership is clearly at odds with Christian teaching.

Author Charles W. Baird, chairman of the economics department at California State University-Hayward, examines what he calls the “systematic compulsory unionism that gives rise to the phenomenon of labor monopolies.” He closes the 85-page essay with a proposal for voluntary unionism that is consistent with the principle of freedom of association.

“This monograph offers the first rigorous — yet accessible — economic analysis of labor unions and the labor market that takes into account the Christian understanding of labor,” said Gloria Zúñiga , executive editor of the Christian Social Thought Series .

Liberating Labor is available for $6 through the Acton Book Shoppe ( ).

About the Acton Institute

With its commitment to pursue a society that is free and virtuous, the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty is a leading voice in the national environmental and social policy debate. The Acton Institute is uniquely positioned to comment on the sound economic and moral foundations necessary to sustain humane environmental and social policies.

The Acton Institute is a nonprofit, ecumenical think tank located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Institute works internationally to "promote a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles."

Interviews with Institute staff may be arranged by contacting John Couretas at (616) 454-3080 or at