When I read the first of your last two articles on the C. L. A. in the Standard Bearer, I said: It does my heart good to see Rev. Hoeksema come out of his corner. A few days later I received a letter from a friend of mine who expressed the same sentiment. Now, we do not mean that Rev. Hoeksema hid away in a corner somewhere, but we, and others with ns, have never been able to justify the action of the Fuller Ave. Consistory which appeared in the Standard Bearer some time ago. This Consistory stated, concerning the C. L. A.; “we would advise you to support it and use your influence with that organization”.

Since then the Rev. Hoeksema had been very silent on the question. Our long wait for further light was well rewarded, however, by his recent discussion of the problem.

It seems to me, however, that (although this point has been treated in passing) there is still another angle to this whole Union question which deserves consideration and emphasis. This point is the evil of collective bargaining. This method was also upheld in the article referred to above, for it was stated: “the Consistory recognizes the fact that the individual laborer can hardly have a position, and collective bargaining and organization are often necessary”. I firmly believe, that apart from everything else:—strikes, pickets, coercion, corporate responsibility; which are allrelated to the whole question, collective bargaining itself is a great evil. Further, that taken by itself, it is so far from being justifiable that it will over-rule possibility of membership in a Labor Union.

To bring out this point, let’s consider the following example. An employer has 300 men working for him. Of these 300 men, 100 are good mechanics, 100 are fair mechanics and the remaining 100 are poor mechanics. All agree to collectively bargain for a raise of 10 cents perhour in pay. The representative of the Union thereupon applies to the employer for this increase. Among the 300 men the 100 may be worthy of 10 cents an hour more, the second 100 barely entitled to it, while the last 100 may already be overpaid. Of the last 100 the employer might like to discharge many but due to the fact that he needs workers or because of the pressure of the Union he keeps them in his employ.

The question is: in all sincerity before God, in the name of a Christian Labor Union, or as an individual Christian, can one truthfully claim that these last 100 men are worthy of the increase that their representative asks for? May he as a Christian ask and claim a raise for them, may they as Christians allow him to do so? The fact remains, that if they are not worthy of an increase, an outright injustice has been inflicted upon the employer and sin has been committed against the 10th commandment.

How can anyone represent another by collective bargaining and proclaim, by his representing many, that he swears before God that what he claims for them all is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? To my mind this is impossible. A man can and may bargain alone, basing his plea upon his own talents and circumstances, but never for another.

Let me pass on to the readers of the S. B. a little discussion I had with a member of a Union here in this city. It will also further clarify the point I make. After discussing the Union question for a little while he asked me: “Don’t you believe in the Union?” My answer was: “No! How could I?” “Well,” he said, “what must we do as a laboring class to get what, is coming to us?” My answer was that he could and should bargain alone, and if he did not receive the merits of his worth he could seek employment elsewhere. I pointed out to him that he was only capable of judging and bargaining in his own case and never in that of another. He did not agree with me in this, so I illustrated to him why I did not believe in the Union and stated that he didn’t either. This caused still more amazement on his part.

“Let us assume,” I said, “that I am working in your home as a decorating contractor. We have made certain agreements as to what and how the work shall be done and what my hourly wage shall be. After a few days on the job I feel that I did not get a square deal and, therefore, demand an increase in hourly wage. To this, you as owner and upon the basis of our original agreement, refuse to comply. If then I began to drive out of your home you, your wife and children, and to destroy the furniture and mutilate your home, what would you do?” He stared at me and did not answer. I suggested to him that, in such a case, if he had a good shot-gun in the basement he would very likely make good use of it. He stated that he thought that is just what he would do. I assured him that the shot-gun would also be my answer in such a case. I think he was convinced that after all he did not believe in the Union.

Think it over—members of the C. L. A.!

Your brother in Christ,

H. A. Van Putten