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

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

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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