From Leo XIII's Rerum Novarum:
Here is a quote from
The first two paragraphs shows the balance between the worker and employer. The last paragraph makes no mention of collectively bargaining.
Next, we have text from
Then, Jake quotes from Pope John Paul II's
Union demands cannot be turned into a kind of group or class “egoism”, although they can and should also aim at correcting – with a view to the common good of the whole of society – everything defective in the system of ownership of the means of production or in the way these are managed. Social and socioeconomic life is certainly like a system of “connected vessels”, and every social activity directed towards safeguarding the rights of particular groups should adapt itself to this system.
In this sense, union activity undoubtedly enters the field of politics, understood as prudent concern for the common good. However, the role of unions is not to ‘play politics’ in the sense that the expression is commonly understood today. Unions do not have the character of political parties struggling for power; they should not be subjected to the decision of political parties or have too close links with them.
Lastly, he quotes from Pope John Paul II's Centesimus annus:
Furthermore, society and the State must ensure wage levels adequate for the maintenance of the worker and his family, including a certain amount for savings. This requires a continuous effort to improve workers’ training and capability so that their work will be more skilled and productive, as well as careful controls and adequate legislative measures to block shameful forms of exploitation, especially to the disadvantage of the most vulnerable workers, of immigrants and of those on the margins of society. The role of trade unions in negotiating minimum salaries and working conditions is decisive in this area.
Jake Tawney contends that none of the encyclicals that he researched and quoted from designate that there is an outright mandate for collective bargaining as a "natural right." The Church states that you have a right to associate. But, the Church also makes it clear that you have a right to refuse to associate. The way that unions today force an individual to join, forces them to hand over wages and doesn't give the person the choice to refuse to join is a violation of individual freedom and Catholic Social Teaching. I agree with Jake Tawney's analysis.