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Adventist Wins Fight Not To Join Union


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By Ron Csillag

Religion News Service

TORONTO -- A labor relations board in Canada has granted an Adventist worker the right to not join a union because of her religious beliefs, raising questions about whether religion should trump labor laws.

The Saskatchewan Labor Relations Board ruled last month (Feb.) in favor of an unnamed 24-year-old woman who argued that her Seventh-day Adventist beliefs forbid her from joining trade unions, allowing her the right to opt out.

However, she will still be subject to any collective bargaining agreements, and her union dues will be collected but diverted to charity.

Ken Georgetti, president of Canadian Labor Congress, told the National Post that workers -- religious or otherwise -- should not be allowed to opt out of a system that gives them economic and social benefits. "I'm sure the woman is not going to give up her pension benefits or her overtime pay," he said.

The right of Canadian workers to forgo union membership "should be universal rather than specifically religious," Niels Veldhuis, a senior economist at the conservative Fraser Institute, told the Post.

The federal government and most Canadian provinces have religious opt-out clauses from union membership.

Seventh-day Adventists "are to preserve our individuality. We are not to unite with secret societies or with trade unions," says the denomination's website. SOURCE

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This is great but I was not aware that we were not allowed to be part of the union! My wife who was a nurse didn't have to join the union at the hospital she worked at but she did have to pay the dues that went to something else other than the union.

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"These unions are one of the signs of the last days. Men are binding up in bundles ready to be burned. They may be church members, but while they belong to these unions, they cannot possibly keep the commandments of God; for to belong to these unions means to disregard the entire Decalogue. {CL 11.4}

"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself." These words sum up the whole duty of man. They mean the consecration of the whole being, body, soul, and spirit, to God's service. How can men obey these words, and at the same time pledge themselves to support that which deprives their neighbors of freedom of action? And how can men obey these words, and form combinations that rob the poorer classes of the advantages

which justly belong to them, preventing them from buying or selling, except under certain conditions?--Letter 26, 1903. {CL 11.5}

Unions That Are Formed or Shall Be Formed

Those who claim to be the children of God are in no case to bind up with the labor unions that are formed or that shall be formed. This the Lord forbids. Cannot those who study the prophecies see and understand what is before us?--Letter 201, 1902."

Thus saith Ellen White

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Strangely, thousands of Adventists in the U.S. consistently vote for the political party that champions the Union and is funded by the Union. Stranger still is the fact that unions are at the doors of the SDA medical work threatening to enlist the membership of the workers who are responsible for the right arm of the gospel.What's up with that?

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We know-- (I mean those who believe in the genuinness of Ellen White's prophetic ministry, know)--- that the labor, or "trade, unions will be one of the agencies that will bring upon this earth a time of trouble such as has not been since the world began." 2 SM 142 (Letter 200, 1903)

Ellen White wrote: "The trade unions and confederacies of the world are a snare. Keep out of them, and away from them, brethren... Have nothing to do with them." 2 SM 142

I believe it. I wouldn't join them.

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She said the same thing about Life Insurance.. but life insurance has change... would she say it today about Life Insurance? Probably not.

Have Unions changed?

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She said the same thing about Life Insurance.. but life insurance has change... would she say it today about Life Insurance? Probably not.

Have Unions changed?

Oh. So Unions are now good?

I have to assume then that her word was then time specific and culturally influenced? Hmmmm And maybe the worse senario that she forsaw was in error?

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I believe when I was a union worker I had the right to opt out but would still have to pay 80% of my union dues. I don't know what would have happened to that 80%. I think some things have changed in some unions over the years. One could probably make the case that they are less corrupt than they use to be. However there are still many things objectionable about them. I think if properly regulated, unions could be a force for good. In the US, it seems one political party thinks unions can do no wrong while the other thinks there is little to no value in them. I doubt either of those positions are right.

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In the US, it seems one political party thinks unions can do no wrong while the other thinks there is little to no value in them. I doubt either of those positions are right.

Same thing goes on in the religious realm.

Both the cons and the libs in church have something to offer. (Granted one side has more than the other)

If only we could come together and benefit from the good in each.

Edit: I apologize for bringing in a spiritual aspect to this political thread.

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Originally Posted By: Stan Jensen
She said the same thing about Life Insurance.. but life insurance has change... would she say it today about Life Insurance? Probably not.

Have Unions changed?

Oh. So Unions are now good?

I have to assume then that her word was then time specific and culturally influenced? Hmmmm And maybe the worse senario that she forsaw was in error?

Not saying they are good. I said that for discussion purposes

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Unions are a dinosaur. It was great watching Reagan slap them around. Nice to see them being trimmed back in Ohio, too.

Fact. Next to welfare, They produce the most lazy men on the face of the earth. Indianapolis Allison plant as exhibit A...

But that's not why I called...

G

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I think unions produce lazy men when they run a muck. Which many have done, especially in some northern states. But that is not universally the case with all unions in all places. That is why I qualify my comments regarding them they in order to be useful they must be regulated.

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I think and believe Unions when first starting out were a force for good. But as time has gone by they have good the other way. My father used to belong to a union all the years that he worked and there was no conflict with his religion. I also believe that unions are getting more corrupt than not now.

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So then our prophets' warning would certainly be only even more applicable now.

I'm gonna guess your replying to me Woody? I do agree, but at the same time, they have there place. Especially to those non-union shops that don't treat there employees as they ought to. I should know, I worked in a shop like that. Obviously there are pros and cons to unions and everything else. We know that nothing is perfect.

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I think what Ellen White had in mind was that we move into the country and become farmers. Which is a small business man. However that option is not as easy today as it was in her day. I think the only land left for homesteading is in Alaska.

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My daughter has recently been in Kansas and tells me that there are some states that are offering the same deal to people today that they offered over 100 years ago. You can have the property free with the condition that you build a house on it and stay a certain number of years on it. The problem is finding a job and making a living in those places.

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Here's a question: should we only follow the counsel of the Bible or the SOP when it is convenient to do so? Or when it is difficult to follow it, or when conditions change a little, should we think it means God no longer means what He revealed? It seems like this happens in quite a few areas of life. But if we think that way, what will happen when the time comes when obedience to God will mean death? Will we say, "I don't think God really expects me to die or undergo hardship for this"?

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If we can opt out of the union legally, I think that is probably the best options for Adventists because we want to maintain our independence. However I think Olger is onto the right idea. In today's world, the best option is probably becoming a small business owner - which is what farmers were 100 years ago. Of course not everyone can become a small business owner but that is a good ideal or standard to hold.

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  • 10 years later...

When I lived in Angwin, I acquired a car that had the wiring harness burned up. The vehicle basically had no electrical function, from horn to lights to ignition to radiator fan and so on. Nothing worked.  It didn't occur to me just how difficult it would be to rewire the vehicle with essential functions. No one in Angwin could do it. Not the professionals or any shade tree mechanic. I found a shop in Napa through the Yellow Pages. The guy did an amazing job in a short time for a good price. I asked him about his training. He ran a union shop and was trained by the union system.  I've never belonged to a union, although one might argue that licensing organizations are unions of a sort. Unions have requirements, educating their members not only through classroom work but on the job training. There are levels of competency. 

One problem with immigration in California is that large numbers of semi qualified workers have been unleashed on the public. It's not unusual for a worker from Mexico, for example, to work in a trade, in the States, just long enough to acquire basic skills and then go to work on their own, for a low price, setting tile, fixing cars, etc. Tile setting and stone work require a certain artistic ability beyond mixing mud and putting rocks into it. It's an art not acquired with minimum exposure. Union certification protects the consumer from incompetency. One SDA institution that I worked on required a lot of masonry work, some of it highly skilled. The lead mason was an Italian from New York, probably a lot like Tony Soprano's grandfather. He was union trained by in New York.  

 

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