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What Is Wrong With Organized Labor
The Plain Truth – April 1985
What Is Wrong With Organized Labor

from Herbert W. Armstrong

THE UNION worker, as well as the capitalist, the executive and all of us, stands today on the very brink of human extinction!

Right now we’re all in the same boat, facing the number one problem of human survival!

There has to be a CAUSE for every effect. What brought civilization to the chaotic state where for the first time it’s possible for man to erase humanity from the earth?

We’ve covered in recent Personals the major facets of man’s civilization. We’ve covered the contributions of government, of science and technology, of business and industry. And now, organized labor.

What has been organized labor’s part in the development of today’s civilization?

Surely, when we look at the progress made during the 20th century, labor’s achievements have been incredibly good?

Modern organized labor has produced the highest living standard for the common man – for the nation as a whole – ever enjoyed in any country since man has inhabited this earth. It has shortened work hours, increased pay, brought fabulous benefits compared to labor conditions as they existed previously – and still exist in many non-Western countries. One of the great contributions has been child labor laws.

But conversely, unrealized by most, organized labor has contributed its share to the chaotic state of the world.

One might not think, until looking more deeply, that organized labor has contributed its share to the problems of unemployment, inflation and the inroads foreign competition has made in these areas.

Early in the 20th century, American industry got the jump on that of most other nations, with mass machine assembly-line production, made possible by the American mass market. This greatly lowered production cost, and as greatly expanded profits. Industrial ownership in the United States would have followed the British custom, in the human-nature pull to “GET” rather than share or “GIVE.” In Britain the rich lived in the “great houses” while employing low-cost labor.

But the labor unions went all out to “GET” all possible from the enormous new mass-production system. A new “GET” economic philosophy infiltrated labor unionism. No longer was a single company a “team” where all worked together against rival competition. Even that had been based on the “GET” incentive. But now capital and management became the enemy of labor.

It may have been true that a union man often was a more proficient worker than a nonunion. But that was because unions enlisted the more skilled, not because unionism encouraged or taught them to climb the ladder of success. Too often a union leader said to an employee, “Slow down, there, buddy – or we’ll all have to work as conscientiously as you are!”

Yet where is organized labor different from those in other facets of a bankrupt and annihilation-facing civilization? Are not capital and management in it, also, for what they can “GET”?

The world forgets – or did it ever know? – that peace, happiness, contentment, joy, are spiritual qualities! There is a basic spiritual LAW in relentless motion that governs all life! It governs not only these spiritual conditions of well-being, but universal economic prosperity as well! That basic LAW is, simply, outflowing LOVE! I simplify it by the term “GIVE” and its transgression the way of “GET.”

“GET” seems to have got us all! The “GET” incentive is the root CAUSE of all the world’s troubles and evils! The way of “GIVE,” cooperate, serve, help, share, is the basic spiritual LAW of our Maker! The world has been trying to beat that law – and is being beaten by it!