1939 Minutes, p. 264
We endorse the stand taken by the Oxford Conference on
Life and Work, that "Labor has intrinsic worth and dignity, since
it is designed by God for man's welfare. The duty and right of men
to work should therefore alike be emphasized. In the industrial
process labor should never be considered a mere commodity. In their
daily work men should be able to recognize and fulfill a Christian
vocation. The working man..., is entitled to a living wage,
wholesome surroundings and a recognized voice in the decisions
which affect his welfare as a worker" (The Church and The Economic
That the Synod stands for the right of
employee and employer to organize for collective bargaining; the
safeguarding of all workers from harmful conditions of labor and
occupational injury and disease; insurance (without diminishing
personal responsibility) against sickness, accident, want in old
age, and unemployment; and the abolition of child labor, by which
we understand the work of children under conditions that interfere
with their physical development, education, opportunities for
recreation, and spiritual growth.
That we stand for release from work at least
one day in seven and a reasonable work week commensurate with the
productivity of industry and the physical and spiritual well-being
of the laborer, to the end that labor may increasingly share in the
cultural, educational, wholesome recreational and religious
opportunities available. Conditions of work for women should be
regulated so as to safeguard their personal welfare and that of the
family and the community.
That we also emphasize that it is the
responsibility of the worker and the employer to work for the
public good and not to abuse their power by trespassing upon the
legitimate rights of others. If they are to achieve permanent
blessings, both laborer and employer must build upon a spiritual
rather than a materialistic basis, and to this end both stand in
need of the continued ministration of the Christian Church.
1952 Minutes, p. 379
The church urged members of the Congress of the United
States to amend further the Social Security Act of 1935 so as to
make citizens who are ministers of religion eligible, without
reservation, as beneficiaries of Social Security Provisions.
1954 Minutes, p. 229
Whereas, according to study and statistics there is a
failure of adequate ministry to the industrial workers, be it
- That local churches, districts and
conferences be urged to set up study conferences, to consider the
matter of a more adequate ministry to industrial workers, and
- That pastors in such areas be urged to
support and attend such conferences, and
- That local churches, districts and
conferences cooperate in such endeavors that may be carried on by
city and state councils. It is especially recommended that pastoral
conferences..., consider this ministry.
1958 Minutes, p.216
In recent months we have been confronted with revelations
of appalling corruption in certain important areas in trade
unionism and more recently in some management practices. These
revelations have shocked and revolted decent citizens. To corrupt
the practices of either labor or management is to sin against God
and cheat all men.
In the commendable investigations conducted thus far by the
Senate Select Committee on Improper Activities in the Labor or
Management Field the labor unions have been in the spotlight of
exposure. The corruption uncovered can neither be explained away
nor condoned. On the other hand what has been revealed as
malpractices by some in management suggests that equally thorough
inquiry should be made in that field. Actually, what has been
exposed has been the moral poverty of our society.
Three dangers to the nation's moral foundations growing out of
these widely publicized practices are profoundly disturbing. The
first is the danger of expecting too much of those in positions of
prominence. Moral leadership at the top levels to be effective must
have loyal support coming up from the local group or community.
Likewise, corruption and misuse of power of the kind recently
demonstrated can thrive only on moral indifference and callousness
at the lower levels.
The second is the danger that the dramatic exposure of the evil
deeds of some leaders may blind us to the valiant efforts of others
in responsible positions who are trying to remedy these menacing
conditions. We commend their high moral courage. We pray they may
be strengthened by God who seeks integrity and justice in the
affairs of man.
The third danger is that of self-righteousness. To point one's
finger at another's faults leads many to feel holier than others.
Labor and management may thus become blind to merited judgment upon
their own activity. At the same time, widespread violations of
ethical standards in the daily economic activities of individuals
corrode personal integrity and national life as do the more
dramatically revealed evils in labor and industry. The wrongs that
have been committed cannot be redeemed by the self-righteousness of
We believe the labor unions are responsible for the situation
that has been revealed; but so is management; so also is the
The degree and kind of responsibility may differ but we all
share in the responsibility for what exists and also for what is
done to correct it.
This is the time for all citizens in every sphere of activity to
examine the methods they employ in gaining wealth and in using
power. We call upon Christians in meeting their responsibility as
citizens to strengthen the moral character of our society through
more effective participation in labor, management, and
The situation also calls for legislation to correct the specific
abuses revealed. Such legislation should be drawn in a spirit of
fairness, with neither hostility nor favor to labor or management.
Care should be taken not to impair the essential needs for the
continued functioning and growth of a strong democratic labor
We believe the time has come for a new dedication to high moral
purposes and practices by the American people as a whole.