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The Worldwide News – March 6, 1981
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A Voice Cries Out:
What’s Wrong With Organized Labor?

Has it, after all, contributed to a permanently better world, or – ?

by Herbert W. Armstrong

The UNION worker, as well as the capitalist, 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 No. 1 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 mankind from the earth?

We’re looking, in this series, at six major facets of man’s civilization. We covered modern education first, because the leaders are what education made them, and civilization is the product of the leaders. 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 – even 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 most countries. One of the great contributions has been child labor laws.

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

One might not think, until looking more deeply, that organized labor has contributed its share to the present problems of unemployment, inflation, the inroads foreign competition has made in these areas – and now setting in, the lowering of the American high living standard.

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

But the labor unions went all out to “GET” all possible from the enormous new mass-production system.

Labor wars ensued. Historically were the “Herrin massacre” coal strike, Herrin, Ill., in which 36 were killed, June, 1922; the Los Angeles Times bombing, and other labor wars of extreme violence.

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!”

I remember the philosopher-writer Elbert Hubbard, whom I well knew, writing, “Unionism chains the laborer to his bench,” and the theory “once a laborer, always a laborer,” with no policy in unionism to inspire and help the working man to rise to higher status in life.

Yet where is organized labor different than 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 it being beaten by it!

The supremely powerful invisible “Strong Hand from Someplace” very soon is going to intervene dynamically to save humanity from itself – before MAN blasts mankind from the earth! This voice is crying out with that announcement – the world’s only and SURE HOPE!

Whether believed or not, it is as SURE as the rising and setting of tomorrow’s sun.