The UPS strike of a few years ago is a good example of bad behavior—even un-Christian and un-American behavior—in my opinion, and a good reason why I would never join a union.
UPS is known throughout the nation as a great place to work: excellent salaries, even for part-time workers (who make more than the average full-time American worker!), good working conditions and great benefits. But the union boss decided to flex his muscles (to affirm his leadership against another would-be union boss) and forced the men to strike.
The strike cost UPS more than $600 million dollars, over half of their billion dollar profit (not a dirty word) for last year. You talk of fairness, but what about fairness to the stockholders who lost all that money? They risked their money when they purchased UPS stock, and they expected a good return on their investment. Many of the investors were widows and orphans. What about fairness to them?
In fact, some UPS striking employees even convinced their former customers to not accept UPS packages delivered by non-union workers or management. Wait a minute. UPS is supposed to forget that their well-paid workers (now strikers) were destroying their business. They are supposed to take them back as if nothing had happened. They are to forget the violence on the picket lines and the slurs and curses aimed in their direction? Not me. I would have given the workers 24-hours to get back to work or they would never drive a brown truck again. And I would have stood by my decision until shrimp learn to whistle and pigs learn to fly. (Of course, the federal thugs would have put me out of business.)
And to even think that Christian men would be involved in such actions only shows the shallowness of most Christian men. It also speaks to the failure of many pastors in giving Scriptural direction in every-day matters of life.
In Matthew 20, Jesus told a parable that is germane to this matter. A man went out to hire laborers for his vineyard and hired a few for a certain sum. They went off to work. Later, the manager saw some other men loafing and hired them to work. The agreement with the late workers was, “whatsoever is right, I will give you.” They joined the first group in the field. This happened throughout the day.
At the end of the day, all the workers lined up to receive their wages, and all were paid the same amount. The first group of workers, who were paid exactly what was agreed on, began to whine about fairness. They “supposed” that they would receive more money since they had worked more hours. The boss said, “Friend, I do thee no wrong; didst not thou agree with me…? He was saying that he had kept his part of the agreement, and what he paid others was of no concern to the first workers. He further asked, “Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own?” Well, maybe he could pay what was agreed to, living under the heel of Rome, but not under the heel of oppressive union dictatorship and federal regulations!
It is so difficult to be principled when money is involved, isn’t it? If I am willing to work for a small wage and you choose to hire me, it is no union’s business nor the business of the state or federal government if I do so. And if the unions are as wonderful as we are told, then it will be no problem getting members. But in non right-to-work states (mainly the northern states), the workers are forced to join the union or pay dues to it.
Obviously, unions are not attracting new members since only about 10% of the private sector workers belong to a union. Union bosses have seen their power base eroded and their coffers depleted and they are trying to hang on to power by any means possible. They are wondering why principled people are eschewing union membership and I can tell them why without a million dollar study.