Back in 2006, my company completed a spray-foam insulation project for Indianapolis Allison, a large GM plant in the heart of the city. The weather was good, and the project was eventually completed. I have to be honest. I have not seen so many lazy people in one city block as I did at that plant. And I blame the labor union mindset for that diminished work ethic. As we move into the year 2013, I sense that the time is right to ask ourselves, “Do Adventist Christians have any business joining labor unions?”
The first head of the American Federation of Labor Samuel Gompers, summed it up nicely in 1886 when asked what organized labor really wanted, he replied, “More.” There is more, and we are going to unmask it in this article.
Trade unions rose to prominence at a time when industrialized countries were growing at a staggering rate. In those days employee safety was often secondary to profits and job security was mostly non-existent. That was the 1840’s. Organized unions were a necessary provisional corrective to the exploitations of early industrial-revolution business. Then, as the industrialized nations matured, working conditions along with ingenuity, production safety, and efficiency all improved. By the 1920’s the industrial climate typified by Henry Ford and Herbert Hoover reached an apogee, buttressed by endemic optimism, efficient government and a profound confidence in the future. May I remind you that today’s situation has made labor unions a wholly unnecessary dinosaur standing in the shadow of a great federal regulatory beast? Unless workers are held at gunpoint, it is not possible to "exploit" them for any length of time today.
Here’s irony. Today’s progressives find fault with the church for clinging to “outdated” morals and beliefs (as if Biblical belief could ever be outdated). In liberal circles it is vogue to mock the church as clinging to a faded image etched onto a Victorian daguerreotype.
This is why it is interesting to watch so-called "Progressives" tout 19th century solutions for 21st century problems. Liberals in the church who support labor unions (and there are a growing number of them) are themselves museum curators cultivating the relics of antiquity. Labor unions are modern dinosaurs that should by now be extinct. They were needed at the turn of the 20th century to protect workers from dangerous working conditions, but they survive today as a political tool to influence elections and exert economic power. However, another (and far more sinister) goal is "increased forced unionization.” They want everybody to be like them!
It is not surprising unionized companies like GM, Chrysler, and Bethlehem Steel went bankrupt, and that heavily unionized states like California, New York, and Illinois are in deep financial trouble. By their very nature, unions must seek to drive their employers into bankruptcy. If they don't, then they aren't doing their job. Too harsh you say? Not at all.
The purpose of a union is to extract from its employer more than the market wage. If it doesn't do this, then there is no reason for workers to support it or to pay dues to it. And because companies must sell their output at market prices and pay market returns for the capital that they employ, they cannot afford to pay more than "market" for any major input. Accordingly, any unionized company for which labor is a significant part of its cost structure will eventually be destroyed. Thus, I can sum up the labor union mindset as trying to take more out of the system than they can put back into it.
As mentioned earlier, unless workers are held at gunpoint, it is not possible to "exploit" them for any length of time. That is why labor unions have become a modern dinosaur. In my opinion, they ought to go away. They once served a purpose but that time has long since passed. They have turned into very powerful, self-serving organizations that are hurting America and our ability to compete with the rest of the world. Yet I don’t think they are going away. Here’s why, "The trades unions will be one of the agencies that will bring upon this earth a time of trouble such as has not been since the world began" (LDE 116).
Whoa. With these startling words, the Spirit of Prophecy pulls back the curtain of the future. This is what’s coming. I told you there was more.
Could it really be that these “harmless” trade unions, many of which began in the 1840’s could become a ferocious monster in the time of the end? Absolutely. A fitting emblem of the “lamb that speaks like a dragon” is these organizations that began with decent intentions, and end with the fiery outbreath of persecution.
“But can’t we join one anyway and ignore these old outdated warnings?” You can, yes. At great peril.
“I need to provide for my family, and God wants us to be happy right?” No. The Lord wants us to be faithful. As we are faithful to His ways, joy comes into our lives. “If you know these things, happy are you if you do them” (John 13:17).
Those who claim to be the children of God are in no case to bind up with the labor unions that are formed or that shall be formed. This the Lord forbids. Cannot those who study the prophecies see and understand what is before us? The transgressors of the law of God have taken sides with their Leader, the General of rebellion. He understands how to devise his Satanic schemes and through whom to work for the carrying out of them. He is striving to lead every soul to take sides with him, and under the influence of his temptations, thousands are binding themselves up in bundles, ready to be consumed by the fires of the last day. 4MR 78
Samuel Gomper said it. Interviewed in 1886, his answer to the question “What do you labor unions want?” was “More!” Ok. Now let’s look back at the results of another interview in the Heavenly Country above. In the God-to-Isaiah transmission of truth all the unholy desires of Lucifer–-as he mutated into Satan–-are easily summed up in this one word “More!” (Isaiah 14:12-17). He wanted to take more out of the system then he was able to put back. This wrong spirit introduces friction into the universe and ultimately leads to violence (John 8:44). That explains why labor unions tend towards violence so easily.
The work of the people of God is to prepare for the events of the future, which will soon come upon them with blinding force. In the world gigantic monopolies will be formed. Men will bind themselves together in unions that will wrap them in the folds of the enemy. A few men will combine to grasp all the means to be obtained in certain lines of business. Trades unions will be formed, and those who refuse to join these unions will be marked men. 2SM 142
So what do you think? Is it ok for Adventist believers to join labor/trade unions?
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? and what ‘union’ has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14).
We’ve been warned.