unionized factory workers
Are you just making God angrier and angrier every time you pay union dues?

Is Jesus a unionbuster? Would Christ cross a picket line?

In a new lawsuit, a San Francisco man is trying to get out of joining a union – which is mandated by his employer – by arguing that unions are against his Christian beliefs.

The man alleges that his religious rights are being violated by being forced to join the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and he’s filing a federal discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on the grounds that his employer is in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Did we miss the section in the New Testament where the apostles discuss unionizing? What’s going on here?

God Hates Unions?

San Francisco-based security guard Thomas Ross is being represented by The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, an antiunion nonprofit. Ross alleges that his employer, Allied Universal, violated his sincerely held religious beliefs when he was forced to join SEIU and pay union dues.

Legal documents show that Ross requested religious accommodations to opt out of joining the union and paying union dues in 2020.

In his letter to a local union president, Ross explained his reasoning:

“The Bible teaches that employees are to submit to their employers with ‘fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; not with eyeservice; as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men’ (Ephesians 6:5-7).” 

It's probably worth noting here that Ross seems to have left out the beginning of the verse, which in most translations indicates that Paul is using this passage to instruct slaves how to behave. Ross also feared that union dues would be spent by the union supporting laws that “would persecute Christian and other religious business owners and require them to violate their consciences or lose their businesses.”

Arguing that he is “commanded to submit to my employer as to Jesus Christ”, Ross states that “Christ also specifically taught individual bargaining rather than collective bargaining for laborers” by citing Matthew 20, a parable about workers in a vineyard which is often interpreted as meaning that both early and late converts to Christianity earn equal rewards in heaven.

Paying Your Dues

Per the lawsuit, Ross says that his request to opt-out of union dues was initially granted, but that two weeks later he received a letter that “stated that union membership was compulsory” and he had the union fees deducted from his paycheck. That's when he decided to sue.

The firm representing Ross seems to think they have a case. In fact, it scored a legal win earlier this year defending a unionized flight attendant who was fired after sending images of aborted fetuses to her union president via Facebook after she discovered that employees of her airline were attending an anti-abortion march in Washington, D.C. The employee alleged she was fired for Christian beliefs, and won millions in court.

However, this case is quite different. While Christians have a long history of opposing abortion, you don’t see a lot of “unions are anti-Christian” sentiment out there. And many have argued that tithes themselves are comparable to union dues.

What do you think? Was this just a cynical attempt at reaping the benefits of a unionized workplace without paying the proper dues? Or is there sincerely a case to be made that the Bible is anti-union?

21 comments

  1. Robert Gagnon's Avatar Robert Gagnon

    Unions were the result of employers abusing their workers. In the 70's my dad had a drywall company with two non-union crews and and one union crew. This was to ensure they could cover every job that opened up. Some jobs like most local government ones require belonging to a union. It is tax deductible as a work expense. So what's the problem? If you are getting fired for any reason, they send a group of lawyers. They ensure everyone gets a raise based on length of employment. There are benefits to belonging to a union. There are no religious persecutions involved. This is major BS. If unionization is required, and you don't like it, find another job and stop forcing yourself on folks you don't like. They got along just fine without you. You are not special. I hope you lose your suit and have to pay all legal fees. I'm sure Jesus will comp you.

  1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

    I just can’t see Jesus ever leading a Union Strike. 🤭

    🦁❤️

  1. Rev. MichaelRS's Avatar Rev. MichaelRS

    Anybody that has seen my other post here know that I generally come down on the conservative side of Bible teachings and interpretation, especially when it involves encroaching on religious freedoms.

    However..this is dumb.

  1. Rev. Elizabeth's Avatar Rev. Elizabeth

    Jesus was always teaching about brotherhood. Be there for each other, work together, play together, help those in need. To my understanding, that is a union of people getting together and helping each other. I think the question is too liberal. I think it needs to be if Jesus worked in the same job and a union wants to come in and all the promises. Jesus would investigate this proposition, and discuss pros and cons. I think he would say no to the workers only because they can do what a union does and they know how to fight for what they need. Most workers are not greedy. God’s union is of people getting together and work as one to make whatever you want, grow. I don’t believe he wouldn’t take these organized leaders. That’s organized religion. That is bad. I say NO, Jesus would not approve

  1. Colleen McAllister's Avatar Colleen McAllister

    I do not believe that the Bible is anti-union. This seems to be a nit-picky way of trying to get noticed. Unions did not exist in Jesus time but I believe he would be in favor of ethical treatment for employees. Slaves and employees are 2 different things.

    If this man does not want to work with a Union he should not have accepted a job that has one.

  1. Katelynne Shouse's Avatar Katelynne Shouse

    What an idiot, what a maroon......what a Nincompoop!

  1. Minister Carlos Ricardo Walls's Avatar Minister Carlos Ricardo Walls

    Regardless of ethnicity,education or gender people need to earn a living wage.One of the many problems in the world.Greedy and corrupt individuals want to hoard all the money.It would be a more paradise world if the wealth was spread around more.

  1. Dr. Zerpersande's Avatar Dr. Zerpersande

    Yeah, this is getting pretty silly now.

  1. William Dusenberry's Avatar William Dusenberry

    The promise that the Christian God gave to the then ununionized meek (the poor, the downtrodden masses, the rabble, what Hillary called the deplorables, and the proletariat, was that they would inherit the Earth _ and. if not in this life -- if they ever were accepted into the Christian Heaven.

    And the only way to do this -- was to unionize -- like they all do now in Germany -- without having to form unions.

    Compulsory profit sharing.

  1. Ralph Miller's Avatar Ralph Miller

    The church has long been unionized, they call it “Organize Religion “ 1st. No one should be forced to join a Union 2nd. Union’s today are totally useless compared to the unions of the past. Back in the day you could retire from the Union after 20 years of service with a full pension, not a 401k that may or may not when you retire but a full pension that you paid into through your Union dues

  1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

    It was God loving President Ronald Regan who attacked the unions in the name of God and Country. And it was his wife Nancy who, with her astrologer and telepathic medium who agreed how President Regan. This was years after Regan used tear gas against college students calling them punks in the name of God.

  1. Richard Darwin Richards's Avatar Richard Darwin Richards

    Jesus called money the root of all evil and we believe Him! Jesus also condemned politics, again we agree with Him!

    1. Pastor Jim's Avatar Pastor Jim

      Comment removed by user.

    2. Rev. Dr. Father JJ's Avatar Rev. Dr. Father JJ

      Wrong. At least know your GHGTTU

      10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 1 Timothy 6:10

  1. Unique's Avatar Unique

    Yeah this is a deep conversation I like to look more into.

  1. Nicholas J Page's Avatar Nicholas J Page

    Rev Nick Page. It is morally wrong to force people into Unionship they don't do anything it's bad enough here in the UK People striking affecting lives.Strike for better pay and working conditions .Try struggling on benefits like I do being unable to work because of a brain op it makes me sick.They signed up for work they know what it's like

  1. Mark Hannon's Avatar Mark Hannon

    25 Therefore he is able to save completely[a] those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

    That's Hebrews 7:25. To me this portrays Christ as an advocate for every single person that comes before God for judgement. This is because we've all purportedly fallen short of Glory.

    I'm of the opinion that unions are one human way we can reflect Christ's example.

    1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      Have you read this on a book somewhere?

      🦁❤️

      1. Mark Hannon's Avatar Mark Hannon

        Thank-you for pointing out my failure to annotate my quote. That was rude of me not to mention the book that is a compilation of writings from various authors, some authors unverified. Plus it's from a book that was written and rewritten by so many that had any sort of prejudice or personal opinion.

        This particular wording is from the New (really just one of the latest) International Version of the New Testament of the Christian Bible.

        But I think of this passage when considering plans like unionization.

        Anymore even I don't think of this book as the final word on everything. As an aside, it was the author's comparison of Christ to the priest that officiated at the wedding of Abraham and Sarai that made me start searching for earlier religions than Judaism. I thought Melchizidec was maybe a Zoroastrian.

        Stay observant, brother!

  1. pjm's Avatar pjm

    This is the sort of thing that many politically-right Christians do that are driving people away from the churches in droves. Using Jesus as an excuse for their own behavior.

    "I distrust those people who know so well what god wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires." - Susan B. Anthony

  1. Paul Phillip Miller's Avatar Paul Phillip Miller

    Organized religion with tithing is good, But Organized workers with dues is not? Sounds like organized religion is worried about it. "For where two or three are gathered together to Unionize , there am I NOT in the midst of them" ??

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