To the editor:
As a parishioner of St. Salome’s Church, I find it very disheartening — and the Rochester Diocese should find it so — that union tradesmen were picketing the construction site of the new St. Salome Apartments for seniors. The project is sponsored by Providence Housing, which is affiliated with the diocese.
The fact that the Bible says the poor will always be with us should not mean the church (should) advocate $12 to $14 an hour wages for skilled labor, which is what the laborers working on this project are earning. These wages insure that the poor will definitely always be with us. That is the market wage and all that is required by the terms of the grants, according to Monica McCullough who heads Providence Housing, but it is obviously not a living wage. What is legal is not necessarily moral, and the teachings of Jesus would be the better guide — “Come to me all you who labor and are burdened.” Should the church not be a leader in setting a good example for society? Dealing fairly with all, especially those who labor and in this case who labor directly for the church, defines the church’s credibility.
This housing is on property purchased from our parish, bears the name of our parish, and St. Salome’s will forever be associated with this housing. It saddens me that this project which has been so needed and so many years in coming and of which we should be proud is now the subject of this type of controversy. I also wonder what the quality of workmanship on these buildings will be.
It is, indeed, a struggle to keep the spirit alive when the church‘s credibility continues to be questioned.
EDITOR’S NOTE: For a balanced news report on this situation, see the story “Unions protest wages on Providence Housing project in Irondequoit.”