Presbyterian Church (USA) becomes first mainline denomination to endorse the principles of Worker-driven Social Responsibility!

“Historic vote” by Presbyterian Mission Agency Board is the latest chapter in long history of PC(USA) support for CIW, Fair Food Movement…

Huge news from the faith-based organizing front of the movement for Fair Food: The 1.4 million-member Presbyterian Church (USA) became the first mainline denomination to endorse the principles of Worker-driven Social Responsibility at its Mission Agency board meeting on Saturday, September 29th!

Shannan Vance-Ocampo, who serves on the Mission Agency board, spoke with the Presbyterian journal, The Presbyterian Outlook, on the significance of the vote.  Here below is a short excerpt from that article, titled From social responsibility principles to church policy: Presbyterian Mission Agency Board considers issues great and small”

… Vance-Ocampo described it as a “historic vote” for the board.

The decision to support the WSR principles (G.102 Endorsement of Worker-driven Social Responsibility Principles) is “a big deal for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.),” she said, “but most importantly, this vote is extremely important for our partners … who depend on our advocacy and our appropriate use of our power and privilege as a denomination.”

This is not the first “first” for the PC(USA) in its long partnership with the CIW.  As men and women from Haiti, Guatemala and Mexico began gathering in a borrowed church room in Immokalee way back in 1993, the PC(USA) awarded CIW a Self-Development of People grant, recognizing that workers themselves were the ones best positioned to analyze and plan how to address violence and poverty wages in the fields. 

The PC(USA) was also the first denomination to endorse the Wendy’s boycott in 2016, marshaling Presbyterian muscle built through its participation in the Campaign for Fair Food since the earliest years of the Taco Bell boycott seventeen years ago.  From hosting workers on truth tours at churches across the country, to marching side-by-side in massive protests; from engaging CEOs of major food retailers, to penning op-eds in papers; from Stated Clerks and Moderators visiting Immokalee, to the denomination using its collective investment power to advance workers’ human rights, the PC(USA) has long been a stalwart partner in helping bring the groundbreaking Fair Food Program into being.  And now, the PC(USA) is committed to fuel the Worker-driven Social Responsibility model’s global impact through its own ministry and practice. 

PC(USA) joins the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA, the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility, and T’ruah: the Rabbinic Call for Human Rights as faith endorsers of WSR.  And this growing support is needed.  Hundreds of millions of workers around the world toil in fear and violence in cramped factories, dangerous mines, isolated fishing trawlers, and sun-baked fields.  The urgency of deploying the WSR paradigm to advance human rights cannot be overstated.  And the PC(USA) has already stepped forward in faith to advance WSR last year with crucial advocacy that helped persuade Ben & Jerry’s to ink the Milk With Dignity Agreement with Migrant Justice.

As we have so many times before, we thank our friends at the PC(USA) and promise that we will do everything in our power to ensure that their support deepens and expands the unprecedented gains of the Fair Food Program, and the new paradigm to which it gave rise, Worker-driven Social Responsibility!