Encyclopedia of Religion
and Society

William H. Swatos, Jr. Editor

Table of Contents | Cover Page  |  Editors  |  Contributors  |  Introduction  |  Web Version


Social movements initiated by, or on behalf of, wage laborers to press demands for better pay and/or improvements in working conditions. Although such linkages are less in evidence today, in the past workers' movements often have counted on the direct assistance or sponsorship of religious organizations. For example, prior to World War I, the Catholic Church helped to form a number of working-class organizations in Italy and France. At the same time, leading elements of the Protestant-based Social Gospel movement in the United States were involved with formation of the revolutionary I.W.W. (Industrial Workers of the World). In French Canada, Catholic labor unions were common prior to the 1970s.

W. E. Hewitt


R. Camp, The Papal Ideology of Social Reform (Leiden: Brill, 1969)

D. E. Winters, Jr., The Soul of the Wobblies (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1985).


return to Encyclopedia Table of Contents

Hartford Institute for Religion Research   hirr@hartsem.edu
Hartford Seminary, 77 Sherman Street, Hartford, CT 06105  860-509-9500