As workers seek to unionize, some clergy are filling a crucial role

February 4, 2022

The Rev. Richard Smith, an Episcopal priest, has been working to improve the lot of workers in California long enough to have protested for farm workers alongside Cesar Chavez in the 1970s during the lettuce strike, when Smith was a Jesuit seminarian.

He’s still passionate enough about workers’ rights that last Holy Week he ritually washed the feet of janitors on strike at a picket line.

Now retired from St. John the Evangelist, a congregation in San Francisco’s north Mission district, he is one of a small number of clergy serving as intermediaries between labor unions and employers whose workers, particularly those in food service, are considering unionizing.

Source: As workers seek to unionize, some clergy are filling a crucial role