When I first started studying the Gospel, I sought after contemporary applications of Gospel principles. “What had the Lord and His servants taught about government schools?” I asked myself. “Since the Church has a welfare program, have they had anything to say about government welfare programs?” In light of Hostess’ recent announcement that they would be closing down operations due to a strike by a labor union, it might be wise to see if the leaders of the Church have spoken on this topic, in order to to have a more principled perspective on the situation.
A comment made by Joseph F. Smith that seems especially appropriate was,
“Labor unions will find that the same eternal law of justice applies to unions that applies to individuals, that fair dealing and rational conduct must be maintained if financial misfortunes are averted.” –Gospel Doctrine page 415
Joseph F. Smith also observed,
“Unions are forcing our people into an inconsistent and dangerous attitude when they compel Latter-day Saints within the union to make war upon their brethren who are without the union, and thereby denying the most sacred God-given rights of one class of Saints that another class may gain some advantage over a third person, their employer. Such conduct is destructive of the liberty which ever man is entitled to enjoy, and will lead in the end to the spirit of contention and apostasy.” Gospel Doctrine page 415
On observing correct economic principles, J. Reuben Clark of the First Presidency explained,
“(L)abor at the present time is demanding a larger share of the proceeds of production than capital can stand. If this demand be continued and increased, industry must fold up, because the time will come when capital can no longer pass on to the public the excess labor costs, and unless it can it will be bankrupt. We common people cannot indefinitely pay this ever mounting tribute to labor and capital; there is not enough left in the economic reservoir to feed, clothe, shelter, and keep us warm… Then the alternative will be either a shutting down of industry- the goose that lays the golden egg will die- or the State must take over and operate, and this is socialism which will bring communism in its wake” Church News 14 December 1946
The ever-increasing demand of the labor union for more and more of the profits finally came to a breaking point with Hostess. Seeing the same thing happening in businesses and industry across the spectrum, and with 20/20 hindsight, the wisdom of these servants of God is undeniable. The alternative described by President Clark is exactly what we saw with the bailout of the auto industry.
As Latter-day Saints, will we heed their warnings and not take part in such destructive anti-liberty practices or will we follow the failed pattern of the Evil One?