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Economic Justice

As stated in the 1964 Poverty resolution, the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) has "declared poverty, in the midst of plenty, intolerable to the religious conscience and incompatible with our principles of economic justice."

Working for a just society is central to our faith — faith based in the creation of justice and peace here on earth and among our common world community. The UUA seeks an economically just society in which government and private institutions promote the common economic good and are held accountable; all people have equal opportunity to care for themselves and their families; and individuals take responsibility for the effects of their actions on their own and others' lives.

The Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations in North America (UUA), through its annual General Assembly (GA) and its Board of Trustees, has supported economic justice in eighteen resolutions since the merger of the Unitarians and Universalists in 1961.

History

As early as 1961 and 1966, in the Migratory Workers and Agricultural Employment resolutions respectively, the UUA called upon Congress to

  • establish an agricultural minimum wage;
  • prohibit child labor;
  • provide education for migrant children and adults;
  • require registration of labor contractors;
  • create adequate housing;
  • make the National Labor Relations Act applicable to migrant labor; and
  • provide health services.

These goals were reaffirmed with the 1974 Support of UFW Boycott, 1975 UU Migrant Ministry, and 1976 Farm Worker Initiatives resolutions, which urged UU's to support the boycott and allocated funding for community ministry to agricultural workers.

With the Economic Opportunity resolution of 1965, the UUA recognized the need for impoverished populations to have influence in the "economic activity programs" enacted by the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. This resolution called for "adequate and substantial representation on both the governing body and the policy advisory board of all community programs."

The 1967 Freedom Budget and Poverty resolution states that "in spite of the high cost of the Vietnam War, the country can afford effective measures to eliminate poverty," urging member congregations to study the A. Philip Randolph Institute's blueprint, "A Freedom Budget for Americans."

Similarly, the 1968 Poor People's Campaign resolution highlighted the strategies of another organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), in support of the Poor People's Campaign of the SCLC. The 1967, 1968 and 1985 Poverty and Unemployment resolutions proposed a radical decrease in military spending to eradicate poverty in the United States.

After a decade of calling for worker rights, the UUA passed the 1971 Rights of the Poor and 1976 Tax Reform resolutions, placing responsibility upon the government to fulfill basic rights of minimum income, adequate housing and legal services by demanding the "elimination of inequities and loopholes" (1976).

With the 1981 Economic Justice, 1983 A Call to the Nation, 1985 Interfaith Action for Economic Justice, and 1985 Resolution Commending US Catholic Conference resolutions, the UUA urged member congregations to work collectively to link jobs and freedom with peace and justice. Here again, as in 1967-8, the UUA recognizes and utilizes resources and models from other denominations and organizations.

Such coalition work is endorsed in the 1988 Housing for the Homeless, 1995 A Job, A Home, A Hope, and 1997 Working For A Just Economic Community resolutions. These resolutions call members to actively create, lobby for, and support affordable, safe housing and employment for impoverished populations including the homeless, persons with disabilities, and the elderly. The UUA urges dignity and hope in the face of international corporate greed and governmental indifference.

Poverty
1964 General Resolution

Economic Opportunity
1965 General Resolution

Freedom Budget and Poverty
1967 General Resolution

Poor People's Campaign
1968 General Resolution

Housing for the Homeless
1988 General Resolution

A Job, A Home, A Hope
1995 General Resolution

Working for a Just Economic Community
1997 General Resolution

Payment of the United States Debt to the United Nations
1998 Action of Immediate Witness

Political Campaign Finance Reform
1998 Action of Immediate Witness

Economic Injustice, Poverty, and Racism: We Can Make a Difference!
2000 Statement of Conscience

Responsible Consumption Is Our Moral Imperative
2001 Statement of Conscience

The Alien Tort Claims Act and Accountability For Multinational Corporations
2004 Action of Immediate Witness

Congregational Programs on Racism and Classism
2006 Responsive Resolution

UUA/UUSC Gulf Coast Relief Fund
2006 Responsive Resolution

For more information contact web @ uua.org.

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Wednesday, August 24, 2011.

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