Let the Bells Ring Out and the Kettles Boil

By Bill Hodges

©2003 Hodges Seminars International

It is a sad state of affairs when a squabble between a union and a merchant can be allowed, with the help of the federal government, to prevent us from hearing the joyful ring of the Salvation Army bells and seeing those cheery red kettles. A multitude of decisions by the National Labor Relations Board require, in part, that if a merchant allows any solicitors on their property, they must also allow union pickets. How these guardians of our constitution in their great wisdom came to this conclusion, I don’t know.

In fact, no one else I have talked to can understand their decision. This ruling helps no one and harms many. The unions still will not get on the property of the merchants because the merchants will now ban all persons except bona fide customers from their property.

Unions have done much for America and its poor. It is sad to see that some would hold hostage the very people they are sworn to help with such a stupid ruling. What a great gift it would be if the labor unions did not force this ruling and allowed the bells to ring free again this year as they have so many years in the past.

Punishing the poor—and the agencies that provide food, shelter and comfort to them—is a bad bargaining chip for either labor or management. It is not a chip any of the fine, hard working and decent union men and women I know would want used in their name.

If this had happened earlier, a friend of mine, who we will call John, might not have been able to get the help he got from the Salvation Army. John was a union employee and his company left town. He was thrown out of work without benefits, became ill and was unable to provide a decent Christmas for his family. The Salvation Army provided that Christmas. Since then, John has found new employment and over the past year, has saved $5 a week from his check so he can help the Salvation Army ensure someone else can have a good Christmas. John understands, as do I, the need for a responsible union movement in this country. But even he finds it hard to understand how the poor could be held hostage. He knows that had those bells not rung, and the kettles not been filled, it might have been a very dark Christmas for him and his family.

I call upon all—union, management, and the man on the street—to come together in the spirit of Christmas to set aside our petty grievances so that love, hope, and peace on earth will prevail and not be crushed by the weight of big corporations, big unions, and big government. Write to your elected federal representatives and let them know what you think of this ruling. When you don’t see the kettles, don’t think that there is no need for your gifts of love to one of the finest organizations in the world—the Salvation Army. You can be sure that whatever you give to them, they will use it in the best interest of those who need it most. Let the bells ring out and the kettles boil.

Bill Hodges is a nationally recognized speaker, trainer, and syndicated columnist. Hodges may be reached at Hodges Seminars International, P.O. Box 89033, Tampa, FL 33689-0400. Phone 813/641-0816.

Web site: http://www.BillHodges.com

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