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May 1, 2006

By Michael Westfall


Around the world, labor officials are not being properly recognized or held accountable for how they use their extensive political clout to exert moral and cultural changes in society. To miss this point is to overlook a very crucial fact. Michigan is important to America’s culture because it is one of the world’s most important industrial centers and has one of the largest concentrations of top labor leaders.


In an April 21, 2006 Detroit News article Mark Gaffney, president of the powerful Michigan AFL-CIO, stated that right wing columnists and even some blue–collar union workers were taking malicious satisfaction in the misfortune of middle American workers because of the “ rash of wage cuts, plant closings and worker concessions. He suggested that these people believe that blue-collar workers are getting what they deserve. Mr. Gaffney’s illusory condemnation of conservatives is false and misleading. It is irresponsible to suggest that conservative Americans want to see our middle class workers harmed in any way.


The truth is that no thinking or compassionate American can be against worker rights, dignity, decent benefits, pensions, or a living wage. The quandary is that these confused political people, which call themselves labor officials, want to be considered polically correct so they label moral issues as labor issues and then force their anti-family and anti-Biblical concepts onto the backs of their Judeo-Christian workforce. By doing this, these officials open themselves up for righteous indignation and honest criticism.  Christian Conservative union members disagree that officials, like Gaffney, have the right to attack them because they stand behind their faith, which is based on Biblical truths relative to the practice of homosexuality and the gruesome issue of abortion.


Gaffney went on to say that rooting against your neighbor leads to losses for you, and it is high time to start acting like we are all in this together. Such labor leaders don’t ask for much; only for their members to recant and deny their basic faith, which will never happen. The Bible is not a book for people to toy with or foolishly twist around and take out of context.


Gaffney’s remarks bring back recent memories when AFL-CIO union officials, in order to legalize same-sex marriage, imposed a resolution in their July, 2005 annual convention in Chicago opposing federal and state constitutional amendments to define marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman. This development was a major slap in the face to the AFL-CIO’s Christian conservative heterosexual workforce.


 These union officials insist that if you don’t blindly succumb, in entirety, to their official union agenda, then you don’t matter, you are anti-worker and you are a problem. That is absurd.


 The dynamics of Mr. Gaffney’s remarks really encapsulate three separate elements that union officials clump together and refuse to identify separately.

The first and most obvious element is that it is very true America has a dreadful employment dilemma. American based multi-national industrial giants have been racing to export, automate and downsize America’s middle-income jobs out of existence. These companies have been operating under the rules of the market place jungle and have had very little, if any, concern over the loss of America’s premier jobs. That is a well-documented fact.


Why didn’t all of our governmental politicians, both Democrat and Republican, see this twenty-five years ago and begin doing something to stop the hemorrhaging of America’s premier jobs? Where were America’s union leaders who are also politicians in their labor arena?


The truth is that none of these politicians have ever suffered along with working Americans.  It was business as usual for them, and they personally saw to it that they individually were very well taken care of, unlike the victimized workers they represent.

Profound signals were plentiful twenty-five years ago that serious problems were arising on employment issues. Those in charge were to busy, too overwhelmed and obviously just lacked the talent to develop programs to properly deal with these colossal issues before they got to the present calamity stage.


America did not have to lose the millions of industrial jobs that have evaporated. Most of the pain and displacement did not have to occur; it was not a force of nature. The fact is that as these politicians collectively were asleep on their watch and as they enjoyed the good life, our workers’ and their family’s lives were being flushed down the tubes.


Contrary to popular opinion, American industry doesn’t belong to business executives, politicians or labor leaders alone. America’s industrial strength has, in fact, always been one of our nation’s most cherished national resources. Together self-servicing politicians and business tycoons have delivered many of our precious industrial communities to the footsteps of bankruptcy. Now they want to do the same thing with America’s morals. They have proved that they cannot be trusted, and it is time for America to wake up before it is to late.


The second element is that we are now getting into a political season. Historically, most union leaders have always supported Democrats and demonized Republicans. To suggest that Republicans want to see America’s employment base shrivel up anymore then the Democrats is preposterous. Neither party sincerely wishes harm to our workers. The dilemma is getting them to do something about it.


Thomas Edison said that genius is 2% inspiration and 98% perspiration. These politicians have convoluted Edison’s quote to mean 2% perspiration and 98% political rhetoric. Workers have shown time after time at the polls that while the Democrats sometimes may represent their labor concerns better, too many times they don’t represent workers’ moral values at all.


The third element is that America’s union leaders have universally become enamored with and have decided to champion the causes of homosexuality and abortion. In the U.S. about 2% of Americans freely choose to practice homosexuality and 98% do not. These union officials are using their collective power to allow the tail to wag the dog. Someone needs to explain to these union officials in terms they and their colleagues will understand that, regardless of their personal feelings, men marrying men and women marrying women has nothing to do with labor. It is a moral issue, which is covered in the Bible. The Bible deals with the practice of homosexuality by calling it an abomination, and it calls abortion murder.


Christian members don’t leave their Christianity at the door of the workplace or union hall when they walk in. Clearly, union officials are on the wrong side of the Bible and on the wrong side of the bargaining table. What makes this issue even worse is the fact that the many unions under the AFL-CIO umbrella have blindly capitulated and gone along with the AFL-CIO to be politically correct.


One example of this insanity is while UAW officials have continually refused to bargain for cost of living protection for their retirees dwindling pensions these same UAW officials recently bargained for full paid spousal benefits for the same sex partners of gay and lesbian auto workers. Now, under the leadership of UAW president Ron Gettlefinger, UAW officials have unbelievably gone to court to be able to legally force their own hard-pressed UAW elderly retirees to make steep health care concessions. This is a no-cost free bonanza for the same sex freeloading partners of gay and lesbian autoworkers and a pitiful and profound betrayal by the unions Gettlefinger to the retirees who built the union and earned these benefits through decades of hard work . 


Gaffney says that unions have a moral duty to represent their members. Is he alluding that the destruction of the exclusive marriage between a man and a woman in favor of same sex marriage is a union officials’ moral duty? America’s morality is based on God’s Ten Commandments. Where in God’s Ten Commandments does it say the AFL-CIO should be a leader in the legalization and legitimization of same sex marriage in America? Throughout millennia every nation and every religious faith has supported the one-man one-woman marriage, which has advanced society, given a balanced home life to our children and stability to our civilizations. What about our children and their children? They have to live in this nation after we are gone. Are we concerned with the morality of the culture that we are leaving them?


Union officials convolute the issue of abortion as being another issue that they have a moral obligation to promote. The Ten Commandments are not as visible today since the liberals and their ACLU colleagues have fought to get them removed from society. If Gaffney, Sweeney and UAW President Gettlefinger were to bother to look at the sixth commandment, they would clearly see that it says thou shall not kill. Abortion is the killing of America’s most innocent.


Union officials needs to crack open their Bibles so they can better understand that God was pro-life before he started creating man in his image, and God was pro-marriage before he created Eve for Adam in the Garden of Eden.


As long as union officials walk all over the Bible and expect union members to choose between their union officials’ anti-Biblical agenda versus their God and his Bible, there are going to be unresolved problems. The pathetic use of union power and influence in the areas where they institute powerful anti-Biblical cultural changes through immoral programs is wrong. It hurts the labor movement and it is blasphemy to the Word of God.


Union officials need to get out of the business of redefining the Bible and America’s morals. They need to concentrate their time trying to save and protect the few jobs remaining rather then waste worker resources developing worker benefits which payroll the murder of our babies and devastate our families by legitimizing the practice of men marrying men.


Union officials need to reconnect with their workforce. The right wing conservative workers and forgotten retirees they are condemning are the very workers and forgotten retirees they were elected to represent.


Michael Westfall