Hi, I am currently supporting a JW colleague with some work problems and have advised them to join our trade union for official support. Am I right that Jehovah 's Witnesses can't vote or contribute to political funds, but they can join trade unions? Thanking anyone who can help me understand.
Trade union membership
Yes. Had this come up in what became a congregational matter between biz owner and his JW employees who decided to join a labor union. The owner tried to get the elders to beat the employees up with a WT article from the 1950's that said trade unions were tools of the devil. WT Service Desk said "things change" so never rely on old articles from 50 years ago.
I'm in a union and it has been a great move. My Dad (elder) was a contractor and worked Union men, which most were JW's in good standing. I've talked with some brothers in Unions, and they seldom went to a meeting (Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag and prayer.)
One brother would not sign the paperwork for the Political Action Committee of the Union to take out 3-5 cents (not percent, a nicklel) per hour. I did and didn't think twice, but I wouldn't talk about it because it's no one's business.
Picket lines and strikes are very rare as unions have lost their edge to negotiate. I was asked a few times to distribute flyers for the union because a foreign company was opening an automobile assembly plant and the State Senator didn't want it to go union. The company was from Germany and they actually wanted Union representation as they were familiar with it in their homeland and a few years later, it was unionized. Unions serve their purpose in that they collectively bargain for all members, organize health insurance for their members which the employer will pay, have pension and retirement funds also paid by the employer. The insurance is good and you can work with many companies and your insurance is the same. The union contract that is negotiated with different companies is basic, besides wages, times you get over time, holidays, etc, they have apprenticeship programs, and offer certification and other training.
Interesting, in Europe you are not allowed to join a trade union as a JW because they are overtly political (basically trade unions, as in the US, are just extensions of the most liberal political parties).
Just enter the topic on Watchtower Library and plenty of articles denigrate trade unions and 'experiences' and 'life stories' of people that parallel the act of joining a trade union with political activities.
I never had the issue coming in the US (why would anyone want to join a trade union in the US after all), but in Europe it is definitely frowned upon.
why would anyone want to join a trade union in the US after all
Because typically unions negotiate significantly better wages for the employees as well as fringe benefits, ie, health insurance (usually for the worker's entire family) and a pension plan. REMEMBER -- here in the USA we DO NOT have socialized health insurance. This is a BIG fringe benefit to employees.
PS--Something often not considered is that the health insurance premiums that the biz pays are NOT taxable to the employee. If they just received the actual cash and had to purchase their own insurance, the money would be taxes and they'd only receive 60-80% of it.
Compare wages in non-union (Right to Work States) vs union wages for the same trades. HUGE DIFFERENCE.
HOURLY RATE/TRADE (Actual pay scale is approx $25/hr less for cost of fringe benefits)
$60,56 Heavy Equipment Operator
$47.90 Commercial Laborer
My father was the Congregation Servant, the equivalent of the Coordinator of the Body of Elders today), from the mid-50's. He worked in a paper mill and a member of the union there from the late 40's till her retired in the mid-80's. I'm not aware of any firm rule against being a member of a union, but I'm pretty sure picketing or anything else that could be construed as political activity would be frowned upon.
I myself was a member of one union for 10 years and then a different one for almost 30 years. Over those years, I have received many, many benefits and protections that I would not have had otherwise. In fact, certain of my union benefits continue even though I am retired.
Not that it makes any difference, but I have not been a JW for well over 20 years. Whether or not JWs approved of unions mattered not a whit to me.
In the last job I was in it was a condition that i joined the union otherwise I wouldn`t have been employed ,I had no problem joining the union but being a good JW I abstained from voting on any issue that came up.
I was in that employment for 28 years ,and maybe the last 5-10 years of that i did participate in voting .
I was a MS when I joined the company.
I took the job I’ve had for 21 years because it was a union job. I wouldn’t be earning the money I do, if I didn’t have this job. BTW, I’m the union steward now.
They are allowed to join trade unions - its a conscience matter. In the UK you have the right to opt out of a political levy that many left wing unions have so a JW would have to do that. https://www.cwu.org/about-the-cwu/cwu-in-politics/the-political-levy-and-our-political-fund/ I'm not sure what the situation is in other countries.
This is just another example of WT trying to impose their opinion on people that really irritates me. The fact that JWs would even be concerned about what WT thinks is disappointing.
The mere involvement of Watchtower Corporation in trying to influence or force their members either in or out of a Union is disgusting. It is none of their business.
A heavy hand against a JW union member, possible shunning, or marking one who votes for their preference in leadership or wanting better wages? Disgusting. WT can get involved in politics, joining the United Nations as an NGO, attending local city council meetings, having their many lawyers writing letters and filing suit for changing zoning laws so they can build their real estate empire with volunteer labor when it is in their best interest.
WT has also used, gamed, and manipulated the system to not pay social security, or provide health treatment, or workers compensation, for their volunteers. They will work quality people in the prime of their life then when they get sick, are injured, or are old at 55 years of age WT dumps them on the street.