Are Modern Catholic Academic Viewpoints on Labor a Help or a Hindrance?
I’ve always been a great fan of Pope St. Leo XIII’s moves to protect the working man during the Industrial Revolution that resulted in the rise of the labor unions. It saddens me to see how unionism has fallen under totalitarian rule with the leaders thriving on power, rather than the welfare of the workers – or the survival of the companies that employ them.
More than one union has committed economic suicide by demanding pay and benefits beyond what an industry can support. They forgot it wasn’t only solidarity, it was also subsidiarity – well-stated in Pope Benedict XVI’s “Caritas in veritate” 57 and 58. A company has a better chance of prospering with a happy and motivated work force. Companies will move offshore or die if they can no longer compete. The wreckage of heavily unionized industries dots the American landscape. All ignored the “formula” our Founders left us in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
I’m for labor unions, but have a real problem with public employee unions. There’s a “Catch-22” here, because public employees need some form of collective bargaining at times, but the power they exercise in the body politic has become a possibly terminal cancer in our society. Public employee unions have an evil advantage over the taxpayer who suddenly finds himself paying salaries and perks to public “servants” ranging all the way to near full time pay in retirement at a rate 3 times what the hardest worker in the private sector can hope to amass. It’s a far cry from freely choosing to buy a union shop’s product at any price.
Cities and states under control of federal government funds can benefit from newly printed money against rising debt to cover for their extravagance. Municipal and state bankruptcies result in vast cuts in normal public services and infrastructure – just look at the weeds and ruts along California highways in spite of the highest highway taxes in the nation.
When public employee unions run their own candidates or push the election of others, they are cementing the status quo and bureaucratic inefficiency into the workings of the community and nation. See what a horrible price our children and wallets have paid for the power of the now well entrenched educational establishment and the power of the public service employees unions worldwide!
I’ve developed a series of “Rules of Fives” – five rules for the target individual or group to follow toward success, with a nod to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.
FIVE RULES FOR UNION MEMBERS
1. If you are only looking for a “job,” don’t join a union. Entry level jobs are for you to learn what you love to do, to be responsible for your employer’s needs to stay in business. If you’re not making your employer a profit, you should be fired if you refuse to develop your skills and apply them through an honest day’s work.
2. If you want to build your skills and be adequately paid for them, be sure your union doesn’t just talk solidarity, but understands and applies the responsibility of subsidiarity and solidarity together. You can compete with non-union workers by being better at quality, performance and reliability – not rioting over their existence as the collective is wont to do.
3. If your union wants to be involved in politics, be sure the members’ dues are applied as the members want them applied, or not at all. Union leaders have a penchant for supporting hard left causes bordering on Marxism. It seems to be a natural tendency to believe strong central control accomplishes more, when it does not.
4. Your union’s policies must allow members to grow and be rewarded for excellence, not just be sheep. The union should have an entrepreneurial policy where it encourages members’ to start businesses, often leading to a friendly union contract that is good for the new employer and employee. If the company prospers, the employees prosper based on results, not an illusion of fairness devoid of effort.
5. Your union’s health care structure should be totally local in service and administration, cooperating with local doctors, hospitals and clinics. The National or International should provide catastrophic care insurance for major medical care needs, but not make demands to participate in local medical care. Close relationships and support of charitable research hospitals like St. Jude’s will help keep the international on track to avoid the corruption and inefficiencies of federal programs.
The good professors from Catholic institutions proclaiming the human is not autonomous does not justify collectivism that ignores the specialness of the individual and his/her responsibilities to God, family and self. Diversity limited to race, sex and ethnicity has damaged our whole outlook because true diversity is the infinite range of God-given gifts and talents that must be educed from the individual and developed for the good of all for the glory of God. Sinyai said, “as Catholics, we are bound to seek other models to accomplish our ends.” How about considering another Catholic model that combines subsidiarity and solidarity, just as personal responsibility and e pluribus unum made this nation great?
Jerry is a retired engineer with strong experience in environmental innovation which he still applies today with 2 clean water and energy saving technologies. His life avocation in writing and study of philosophical and biblical themes as they apply to the body politic's spiritual warfare. He survived stage 4 Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2006; now in excellent health. A graduate of the University of Illinois (1958, Industrial Engineering), Jerry had post graduate studies at both the University of San Francisco and the University of Santa Clara in California between 1961 and 1963 (Logic, Marketing). As co Founder and seminar presenter he was awarded a Ph.D. in Philosophy at Valley Christian University operating under California private-post secondary statutes for mid career student, VCU was the pioneer external degree school for mid career students. Its course structures were picked up by several well known Christian colleges. Hosted local broadcast radio and TV shows, "Religion on the Line" and "The News Firm" (jointly with wife, Joanne), respectively. Jerry has published several books that are available at Amazon. Jerry is available to speak as a visiting lecturer at the high school, college or community organization level. Jerry is married 55 years to Joanne Dean Todd – 3 children, 8 grandchildren.