Years ago, I remember a nasty union strike at the tire plant my father works at. It was the first time I heard of picket lines or scabs. I vaguely remember the news being on and being hushed when the events surrounding the strike would air. It was frightening to me as a girl. After all, that was where my Daddy worked.
Several years later another contract negotiation came about and strike was once more a word I heard in my home. Daddy was a scab. That is what a man who worked with him said at church. This prompted a discussion between my father and I about why he did not strike with the others. I will never forget what he told me.
“God gave me this job.” It was the most resolute statement I recall in regards to the faith of my Daddy. The job that he has been at for over 40 years now was a gift from God. It has provided the food on our table, roof over our heads and every tangible thing my Daddy provided to his family. Every contract, every strike…my Daddy shows up for work. He does not make a big statement. He is not ugly to others. He just goes to work and does his job.
I consider myself to have a very good work ethic, but I have seen few who can touch my Father’s. He works despite weather, despite physical pain and despite the picket lines. In every storm with his employer, God has shown himself strong and faithful for my Dad.
Contracts are in negotiation once more. There is always the rumbling of strike when negotiations occur with the union. We pray negotiations will complete smoothly and without shutdowns or striking. This little post today is not to condemn the unions. Without unions we would be working for pennies on the dollar as they do in foreign countries. Insurance and various benefits would not be protected as big companies negotiate to give CEO’s bigger paydays. What I have seen in my limited experience, watching from the sidelines is that strikes are often excuses to show the absolute worst of oneself. Calling names, vandalizing and some of the aberrant behaviors that have occurred during strikes are equal to the behavior during civil uprising with looters destroying the neighborhoods in which they live.
I know God will provide for my parents. Daddy has been faithful in his job, the job God gave him. If you are part of a union and ever find yourself in the situation of a strike, let me encourage you to engage with honor. Trying to degrade your co-workers as they cross the line is not achieving your goal. Engaging in illegal activities such as vandalism or violence does not prove anything other than you do not deserve the job you claim to be fighting to protect.
If you are a Christian, your case is not the same as everyone else. God protects and provides…he has done so for my Daddy for over 40 years. Retirement is right around the corner for Dad. I am thankful that he and Mom will not have to run the rat race as they have since I was a kid. I appreciate the perspective that my Daddy gave me. He is a hard-working man who has made his little girls very, very proud.
Love you Daddy!