(CBS) — Without mentioning Gov. Bruce Rauner by name, Chicago’s Roman Catholic Archbishop is raising concerns about moves to restrict labor unions.

Blase Cupich made his remarks Thursday at the plumbers union hall on the West Side, before a union-heavy audience.

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He declared a society with a healthy labor movement is a better place than one where powerful economic interests have their way and the voices of workers are diminished.

“In view of present day attempts to enact so-called right-to-work laws, the church is duty-bound to challenge such efforts by raising questions based upon long-standing principles,” Cupich said. “We have to ask: Do these measures undermine the capacity of unions to organize, to represent workers and to negotiate contracts? Do such laws protect the weak and the vulnerable?”

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Among those applauding were Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, and former Gov. Pat Quinn, also a Democrat.

Democratic legislative leaders have opposed Republican Rauner’s attempts to create “empowerment” zones in Illinois that critics say are anti-union.

The governor’s office declined comment Thursday on the archbishop’s remarks.

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