Labor Day as a Call for Repentance
Just a brief question. When will Christians support the labor movement? I don’t mean Hoffa-style mobsterism. I mean when will Christians work to stop so-called “right to work” laws in their states (which really mean “right to work for less”) that undermine union membership? When we vote to repeal the Hart-Taftley[Update: OOPS! I meant “Taft-Hartley Law” of course. How embarrassing.] law which is used to defang labor by shutting down strikes? When will Christians support campaigns against Wal-mart and other anti-union companies who make billions through virtual slave labor abroad, low wages here, anti-union tactics (some illegal), and shutting down local businesses?
In the 1950s the unions were strong and America had the best products, the highest paying jobs, and some of the best benefits in the world. We also had a thriving economy and families could become middle class on one salary in manufacturing jobs. Now we make virtually nothing, are even shipping hi-tech jobs overseas (and giving corporations tax credits to do so), labor is incredibly weak, most jobs are “service industries” with low wages, often in dangerous conditions, and it takes 2-3 jobs for middle class families to enjoy the same lifestyles their parents did on one salary. Meanwhile, wages are stagnant except for CEOs which have climbed 350% since 1994 (Source: National Priorities Project)–regardless of whether a corporation does well or not.
This is a justice matter. Why do the churches treat Labor Day as just a time for barbecue? Should we not instead treat it as a time of repentance and rededication to economic justice for all?
Cross-posted from Mainstream Baptists’ group blog.
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