Labor Union Rebellion

Labor Union Rebellion

Labor Union Rebellion, Unrest, Covetousness, and Insubordination

A Commonly Accepted Sin

Richard Hollerman

As we know from our own reading of the Scriptures, our Holy God not only condemns the obvious sins of murder, fornication, greed, and lying, but He also forbids the sins that many people accept and consider common. One of these would be the rebellion manifested in labor union activities and strife.

Beginning in the 1700s and continuing to the present, the labor union effort to force employers to give better wages and more benefits has continued. In the last decades in the United States, union membership has decreased but still it has continued.


As we briefly look back to union membership, we see that at the end of World War II, some 12 million American workers were in unions. Further, from about 1936 the Democratic Party was wedded to the union movement. In 1955, the AFL-CIO was formed. But by the 1970’s, there has been a decrease in union industries, thus less union membership. The election of Ronald Reagan brought an anti-union emphasis in the country.

From 1975-1985, union membership decreased by 5 million. We also read, “By the end of the 1980s, less than 17 percent of American workers were organized, half the proportion of the early 1950s.” By 2018, there were 14.7 million wage and salary workers in labor unions, and this included 25 percent women and 28 percent blacks.

Presently, labor unionism continues but it is not as robust as it was years ago. Yet it continues in certain places, especially in urban areas of the north.


Many readers only think of the pickets, the violence, the bad feelings, the covetousness, and the wicked name-calling and back-biting. But we can’t deny that the outcome of certain aspects of this movement has had some good effects. Hours of work have decreased, vacations have increased, insurance has been offered, and employees have a better position than they did only a century ago.

However, all of these benefits have come at a price. In other words, employees through their labor unions have been willing to violate certain principles of Scripture to obtain the benefits mentioned above. We know that most union officials are not at all interested in the ways of God and freely violate Biblical principles. Sadly, some men and women who profess Christianity are willing to go along with these violations themselves—and still profess Jesus.

What are some of the principles violated?

  1. The obvious problem is the open acceptance of materialistic pursuits. Jesus declared, “How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!” (Mark 10:23). He continued, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!” Then He said strong words: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (10:24, 25). Regardless of this danger, those who belong to labor unions seem to eagerly race for more money and what money can bring!
  1. We know that coercing our employers to pay more and offer more benefits is a carnal attitude—one that has no place in the life of a Christian. Probably many people (including some professing Christians) are not able to understand or accept the clear instructions of Scripture, but they are plain—too plain to overlook or mistake.

Read over Ephesians 6:5-8 and notice that the instruction is for Christian “slaves.” We assume that many employees might consider themselves slaves in a sense but there were many differences. But there were also parallels. “Be obedience to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ” (Ephesians 6:5). He continues, “. . . not by way of eyeservice, as men-leasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart” (v. 6). The interested reader should continue reading vv.7-8. Notice also Colossians 3:22-25; 1 Timothy 6:1-2; and Titus 2:9-10. Can anyone read these instructions and still try to defend the labor union?

  1. We also know that the tactics of labor unionism are opposed to the way of God. Read over Romans 12:9-21 and see what we mean by this indictment. Consider verse 14: “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.” Also verse 17: “Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men.” Note further verse 21: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Is the member overcome by the evil of the boss or the manager or the owner? Of course. But Scripture says to overcome this evil with “good” and not with more “bad”! Surely the unbiased employee who wants to obey the Lord can see through this issue.
  1. Notice also the means by which the employees seek to promote their cause. Does the union seek to keep the honest-hearted Christian from obeying the command to work for the master without sin? Does the union display the ways of Christ before a watching world? Does the union promote good or bad feelings and attitudes with the workers and with the management? To ask such questions is to answer them.

  1. The final point (and more could be stated) has to do with the participation of the Christian with the unsaved. The inspired apostle urges the Christians with these words: “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God” (2 Corinthians 6:14-16). Notice also verses 16b-18. The reader can surely see that the follower of Jesus is not to be “bound together” with other union membership—especially since such membership involves so many sins.

All of this shows that the Christian should have nothing to do with labor unions. Although some good has come from this organization and movement (which we must admit and accept), much wickedness has also been promoted. The Christian who is true to the Lord must not “do evil that good may come” (Romans 3:8). In other words, we must not sin in order to bring about a good end. This would include any “good” for the worker that may come from the evil of the union activities.

Let’s seek to be followers of the Lord in deed and truth. Let’s not fall for the ways of the world on the job or anywhere else. Will you follow the Lord regardless of what it costs you? Be willing to renounce unionism in its various forms.


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