Labor Unions and Syndicates

As with so many things, labor unions and syndicates have good and bad to them. To begin with, the Bible is very clear that God is against the oppression of others. Psalm 10:16-18 (ESV) says, “The Lord is king forever and ever; the nations perish from his land. O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.” God does not have a deaf ear to those who cry out for justice.

King Solomon reflected, “Again I saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun. And behold, the tears of the oppressed, and they had no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power, and there was no one to comfort them” (Eccles. 4:1, ESV). We live in a world where people in power often exploit those below them.

In Jesus’ first sermon, He quoted the message about the oppressed, from Isaiah 61:1-2. He declared, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed” (Luke 4:18, ESV). As followers of Jesus we need to do our part to elevate the oppressed.

One of the ways people have devised to keep powerful individuals, organizations, and certain fields of work in check is by forming unions and syndicates. As workers unite they create a greater voice that can speak to power through protests, walk-outs, and sit-ins, and make demands for better pay and working conditions. They have done great things for people. However, sometimes the one freed from oppressive power becomes the very thing they wanted freedom from. This happens often; the oppressed, when given power, becomes the oppressor. While union/syndicates are groups formed to protect against unfair corporate practices, some became so powerful that they create policies just as bad as the ones that they once fought against. It’s important to stay vigilant with unions/syndicates and to know when it is time to join and when it’s time to walk away.