Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Safe Synagogues

I have a confession to make. I'm a thief. A shameless thief of e-mail addresses. Send me an health and safety or labor-related e-mail with lots of cc's and I'll vacuum them right up and put them on my mailing list. I'm not apologizing. You've been warned. Anyway, it's for the better good. I'm on a mission from God.

Generally, people don't seem to mind getting a notice of this week's Confined Space. Many people thank me. A few accuse me of spamming them and threaten legal action. And occasionally someone thinks I'm God and wants to have my children.

And speaking of God, today I got a pleasant surprise. In return for an unsolicited mailing of Confined Space, Cate Poe, labor organizer, AFL-CIO National Field Representative, and labor/faith based group coalition builder sent me an article she wrote from Your Synagogue on Money, Morality & Synagogue Construction Projects, about why congregations should use union labor when building synagogues and how the job can be done safely. There's also an article by Cate on The Historic Alliance Between Jews and Labor
Synagogues face financial constraints in completing the construction projects necessary to accommodate their growing congregations. Because they depend entirely on donations, they need to work as closely as possible to a minimum budget.

However, that should not and cannot come at the expense of shoddy workmanship and the exploitation of workers through a less-than-livable wage or unsafe working conditions. A synagogue - or any faith-based organization - builds more than just a building; it builds a structure dedicated to teaching and observing moral and ethical ways of living.
Religious life was never so interesting where I grew up....