Christians & Labor Unions: Unequally Yoked
“You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.”
“The clever cat eats cheese and breathes down rat holes with baited breath.”
A variety of witty sayings, old saws and clever proverbs acknowledge the fact that a trap is only as good as the bait used to entice and beguile the intended victim. Satan knows this fact as well. He has a multitude of traps laid for unwary feet, all hidden in a way to deceive his victim into wanting to be entrapped. One of the most successful ways Satan ensnares people is by hiding evil goals and agendas under an appearance of good causes.
Labor Unions are one such trap. For hundreds of years, children worked with their parents to support the family. With the Industrial Revolution, healthy conditions of working together as a family on a farm disintegrated into virtual slave labor in factories and mines where children as young as three were put to work and children five and older were expected to work 16 hours a day – many of whom died before age 25 of the poisonous air in which they worked or other job related accidents.
Labor Unions started as a way to organize the workers and protect them against wealthy industrialists who did not mind working their employees to death, because there were always more people to employ at slave wages.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to improve working conditions. In fact, Scripture is very clear that withholding adequate wages, thus keeping people from earning a decent living, is sin. The loving Creator even commanded that the ox grinding grain must be given some of the grain he has ground as a reward for his labor. He has a heart that is tender to any injustice in the work industry. Using farming as an illustration for all employer/employee relationships, Scripture states:
Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Master of sabaoth [Yahweh]. (James 5:4, KJV)
Yahweh, an Elohim of justice, declares, “I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against . . . those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right and fear not me, saith . . . [Yahweh] of hosts.” (Malachi 3:5, KJV)
It is because any manifestation of injustice or unfairness rouses a reaction in human hearts that Satan has used it to hide one of his most effective tools for total dominion and control over freedom of religion. What began in Europe and North America as a benign movement to gain reasonable working hours for a livable wage has morphed over the past 200+ years into a hideous monster with powerful political connections. Still under the guise of seeking “justice,” labor unions have forced innumerable productive factories and businesses to close and killed many innocent people.
Yahweh’s Kingdom is ruled by Love and guarantees freedom of choice to all. Satan’s kingdom is ruled by force and seeks to enslave freedom of choice. Nowhere is this more evident than in the past and current history of labor unions. From the very first, the good accomplished by the labor unions has been stained with violence, graft and bloodshed. Discerning Christians of all denominations have expressed concern over the unscrupulous power exercised by the labor unions.
In 1903, one Christian author wrote:
The work of the people of . . . [Yah] 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.1
A year later, the same author warned:
Can they not see in the rapid growth of trades unions, the fulfilling of the signs of the times? Those forming the labor unions are determined to have their own way. Violence and death mean nothing to them if their unions are opposed. The spirit is working in those who profess to believe the truth, but who, because they do not live the truth, are always in contention. The judgments of . . . [Yahweh] are in the land. The wars and rumors of wars, the destruction by fire and flood, say clearly that the time of trouble which is to increase until the end, is already in the world.2
Yahweh is never aligned with force, regardless of the surface “good” accomplished by that use of force. Labor unions that are supposed to merely protect the worker from the greed of Big Business have become powerful political forces. When their demands for ever higher wages and benefits cannot be met, force is brought to bear. People have been beaten, even killed, by hired thugs sent by labor union bosses. Many successful businesses and factories, providing jobs and income for scores of families, have been forced out of business when they were unable or unwilling to comply with union demands.
Those who align themselves with labor unions are not any safer. Once a union member, they are forced by that association to comply with the dictates of union leadership – even against their own wishes! In 1998, Kaiser Aluminum, one of the largest producers of Aluminum in the U.S., attempted to renegotiate a contract with the United Steelworkers of America, a large and powerful labor union. Kaiser Aluminum was forced to reject union demands because they were “unrealistic and prohibitively expensive.”3
Often overlooked by the media is the fact that the workers themselves understood that the company was trying to retain them but could not afford to meet all the union leaders’ demands. Local workers petitioned union bosses to accept the company’s counteroffer but to no avail. In the end, the company was forced out of business. The workers had no jobs and local economies suffered greatly. Other industries dependent upon aluminum were also adversely affected. Detroit, a once thriving city, has become a virtual ghost town, overtaken by gangs . . . and the union bosses living off the rich proceeds of union dues did not care.
This is not an isolated incident, but it is a perfect example of the dangers of involving oneself with labor unions. Anyone who pays union membership dues is legally represented by that union. The union represents the worker and negotiates on his/her behalf. The full significance of this fact is lost on most people. As the official representative of the worker,the individual union member is responsible for all the actions of the union taken on his or her behalf.
This means, that if the unions beat up non-union workers that cross a picket line, individual union members are responsible for the pain and suffering of the beaten workers. The non-union workers were beaten by order of the union bosses on the members’ behalf since, as dues paying members, the union “represents” the members’ interests.
If a company is forced out of business because it cannot meet unreasonable union demands, the individual union member is fully responsible for the loss of employment caused by that company’s bankruptcy since the failure was the result of union demands.
If a union boss murders an opponent (as has frequently happened) union members are just as guilty of the murder as if they had done it themselves, because the union is representing them. The union is acting for them and on their behalf.
The fact that much good was accomplished 150+ years ago by the organization of workers into unions does not excuse the pain and suffering (physically, emotionally and financially) that has also been the result of union action.
The injustice in our world, the masterly power man has taken unto himself, the oppressive, man-made unions that bring confusion and violence and strife, and the manipulation of a power to rule men and to acquire means through underhand deceptions—these conditions. . . . [Yahweh] cannot pass by with silence. Those who are under the influence and teaching of the great deceiver will find that, although . . . [Yahweh] has borne long with their deceptive acuteness, He has not been deceived, and He will reward every transgressor according to his works. He keeps a strict account of every lie framed, and when He takes matters in His hand, He will deal in accordance with every man’s secret and hidden devising.4
Labor unions are a growing threat in the world today and all should be wary of any involvement with organizations that have shown themselves merciless in the pursuit of their own agenda. “Those who claim to be the children of . . . [Yah] are in no case to bind up with the labor unions that are formed or that shall be formed. This . . . [Yahweh] forbids. Cannot those who study the prophecies see and understand what is before us?”5
With better working conditions and a more livable wage, labor unions in the 1960s – 1980s, faded somewhat from the public awareness and operated more behind the scenes. However, they are still a force to be reckoned with, one which all would do well to avoid under any circumstances. Their lust for power and their methods of operation are as prone to violence and cause as much suffering as they ever did.
On February 16, 2011, World Net Daily, one of the world’s largest on-line news services, announced that labor unions were partially responsible for the violent protests sweeping through the Middle East.
One of the main anti-regime organizations leading protests in Algeria is funded by a quasi-governmental group partly led by an arm of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO, the largest U.S. union organization.
Following protests that led to the resignations of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali – both key U.S. allies – Algeria has been similarly engulfed in anti-regime riots and strikes by workers unions. . . .
The NED [National Endowment for Democracy] has funded the AFL-CIO’s foreign operations, which seek to promote international trade unions.
Indeed, according to NED founding documents reviewed by WND, the AFL-CIO was one of the original founders of the NED.
Through the NED, the AFL-CIO’s American Institute for Free Labor Development has funded opposition labor movements across the group, most notably in Latin America, where it has advocated for union workers and has been implicated in stirring riots against multiple countries in the region.
In Algeria, just as in Egypt, civil society groups, including trade unions, have been central to the anti-regime protests in recent days.
In Egypt, the threat of maintaining strikes by labor unions has been used by Mubarak’s opposition as a bargaining chip to secure political demands.6
The common people demonstrating in Yemen, Egypt, Libya and elsewhere were not wrong for demanding change and seeking necessary wage increases in order to provide basic necessities and food for their families. However, none should remain ignorant of the fact that worldly powers see the discontent of the masses as an opportunity to gain still greater power and control over the common man.
The executive council of the AFL-CIO, the nation’s [United States’] largest union, has praised the role workers and trade unions are playing in the revolutions sweeping the Middle East and North Africa. . . .
WND was first to report that one of the main anti-regime organizations spearheading protests in Algeria is funded by a quasi-governmental group partly led by an arm of the AFL-CIO along with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.7
Manipulating entire populations by implantingAgent Provocateurs is a long-established practice of repressive powers. The first step is to unite the common working class to work together toward some needed change. Next, secret agents pretending to be workers commit lawless acts and incite riots. As a result, the power authority (usually the government) cracks down on all of the populace thereby gaining greater power and control. This was a tactic used by Vladimir Lenin in inciting the worker riots that started the Bolshevik Revolution. Adolf Hitler did the same thing, and there are reports even now coming from the Middle East that the same tactic is being used there as well.
Even the “Occupy Wall Street” movement that is sweeping the United States has all the earmarks of manipulating the suffering, needy working class in order for the elite to make a power-grab which would give them greater control of the world’s population.
On December 9, 2011, World Net Daily reported that the “Occupy Wall Street” movement was, in actuality, being funded by groups which, in turn, were funded by billionaire activist, George Soros.
The groups, most prominent among them being the Tides Center, have been involved with Occupy since the anti-Wall Street movement’s inception.
. . . Adbusters magazine is reported to have come up with the Occupy Wall Street idea after Arab Spring protests toppled governments in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. The Adbusters website serves as a central hub for Occupy’s planning. . . .
Working with the Ruckus Society, [one Occupy Wall Street volunteer,] Shan was a leader of the 1999 World Trade Organization protests in Seattle that turned violent. Ruckus helped to spark those riots.
Ruckus is directly tied to Occupy. WND previously reported how official direct-action training resources for recent Occupy events include several manuals from the Ruckus Society, which trains radical activists in “direct action” techniques.
. . . Ruckus is funded by the Tides Center, which has been involved in Occupy since the movement’s onset. . . . One prominent Tides donor is Soros. Besides accepting major donations from Tides, Ruckus is also funded directly by Soros’ own Open Society Institute.
Satan could ensnare no one in the labor unions if they were seen for what they are: powerful forces that destroy individual freedom of choice and religious liberty. The average worker, struggling to earn enough money to feed his family, sees only the fair front. Desperation to earn enough money to survive hides the real danger of unions from the majority of people. However, no one involved with unions truly has individual freedoms. A privately owned company whose workers have voted to “unionize” are forced to fire those workers who do not want to be union members.
The labor unions fought for changes in working conditions. This was a good thing. Today, the common working people have legitimate reasons for demanding change. However, the labor unions are being used by the power elite to bring about riots and chaos that will lead to greater domination by governmental powers. “Satanic agencies are becoming more determined in their rebellion against . . . [Yahweh]. The trades unions will be the cause of the most terrible violence that has ever been seen among human beings.”8
Those who wish to worship by the Biblical Sabbath will find the unions a major obstacle to getting the necessary accommodation for their work schedules. In this, labor unions will exert a powerful force in bringing hardship to bear on lunar Sabbatarians.
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. . . . 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. . . . Because of these unions and confederacies, it will soon be very difficult for our institutions to carry on their work in the cities. My warning is: Keep out of the cities.9
It is very important that all who would honor Yahweh have nothing to do with the labor unions. It is not appropriate for any Christian to be associated with (and represented by) organizations known for their corruption, violence and graft. Those who heed the call to “come out of Babylon” will separate themselves fully from the labor unions.
The wicked are being bound up in bundles, bound up in trusts, in unions, in confederacies. Let us have nothing to do with these organizations. . . . [Yahweh] is our Ruler, our Governor, and He calls us to come out from the world and be separate. “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith . . . [Yahweh], and touch not the unclean thing” [2 Corinthians 6:17]. If we refuse to do this, if we continue to link up with the world and to look at every matter from a worldly standpoint, we shall become like the world. When worldly policy and worldly ideas govern our transactions we cannot stand on the high and holy platform of eternal truth.10
If you are a member of a labor union, begin now to take steps to disassociate yourself from this entangling snare. This may mean obtaining another job. Worship & Job Conflicts contains many helpful suggestions for lunar Sabbatarians looking for new jobs. Yahweh will work with you. If you commit yourself fully to Him, He will open a path before you that is safe to follow.
1 Ellen G. White, “Letter 26,” cited in Country Living, p. 10.
2 Ellen G. White, “Letter 93,” 1904.
3 “Kaiser Aluminum Offers Revised Proposal,” AllBusiness.com, 17 Dec., 1998.
4 Ellen White, Manuscript Releases, Vol. 4, p. 91.
5 White, Letter 201, 1902.
6 “Largest American Union Stirring Algerian Chaos?” WND.com, 16 February, 2011, emphasis supplied.
7 “Largest U.S. Union Behind MidEast Riots?” WND.com, 08 August, 2011, emphasis supplied.
8 Ellen White, Manuscript Releases, Vol. 4, p. 90.
9Ellen White, Last Day Events, pp. 116-117.
Letters to Employers: WLC is pleased to provide several different letters that may be used when requesting your employer for accommodation for keeping the holy days. Modify to fit your personal information, print off, and send!
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For Students & Teachers: Keeping the Lunar Sabbath can be difficult for students because the school year is regulated by the civil Gregorian calendar. Even those in advanced schooling, or those taking exams for professional licenses may find it necessary to ask for special accommodation. Here you will find several letter templates you can use for making such requests. Modify as needed to fit your own individual circumstances.