Multiply Justice

‘Pay well, provide benefits, invest in lives’

Chris Horst reports for CT’s This Is Our City:

Sandwiched between rail lines and a tire depot, the Blender Products factory hides in a quiet neighborhood in Denver. The nondescript warehouse looks from the outside as nondescript as most warehouses do. But the way Steve Hill and Jim Howey lead inside the building is unusual in an industry known for top-down hierarchies of management.

“The metal fabrication business is extremely cutthroat,” says Hill. “Workers are given a singular task, and maximum output is demanded. They’re simply a factor of production. As a general rule, they have no access to management. There is very little crossover between guys on the floor and guys in the offices.”

Hill and Howey aim to subvert the us-versus-them mentality. Many days they walk the shop floor, engaging their workers as peers. Employees on the floor are treated as importantly as the managers, undermining the adversarial culture simmering in many manufacturing businesses.

“The company has tried to abide by a simple philosophy concerning our employees,” Steve said. “Pay them well, provide great benefits, and invest in lives. . . . The guys in our shop . . . know that I’m a human too. I have many of the same struggles they do. Showing humanness to people is key to disarming those stereotypes.”

Extraordinary moments of God’s grace abound. One longstanding Blender employee endured a season of family crisis. In that moment, he turned to those closest to him for support, prayer, and care. For him, those people were his colleagues. He openly shared his pain and his managers prayed for him and helped him find his footing. Baptized soon thereafter, the employee’s tragedy has been redeemed, forever changing the trajectory of his life.

Read the full article by clicking here.

About the article, Owen Strachan writes:

Christians who believe in the rightness of the free market nonetheless must also … care about workers, people, those whom God has invested with meaning and purpose and talent. The Blender Products leaders, Steve Hill and Jim Howey, clearly get that. It’s beautiful to read their story along these lines.

… The best program of social uplift I know of is one that involves marriage, hard work, and earning money, and there should be absolutely no shame in such things (contra what we are encouraged to feel today). But the Bible seems to be pretty clear about the need to be fair and even kind to others who need to earn money (see 1 Timothy 5:18).

In fact, let’s sharpen the point: Christian employers should be widely known for how well they treat their employees. Failure on this point is not a small matter. In the broader world and the political-cultural realm, we should be known not only for our belief in meaningful work and money-earning, but for our advocacy on behalf of the weak, including employees who are mistreated and who need appropriate representation.

The image of God means we can work, create, be entrepreneurs, be day laborers, be manufacturers, homemakers, bosses, ad consultants, teachers, and so much more. The gospel creates a love for such work in Jesus’s name, and a desire to bring others to the flourishing and spiritual life they can never find outside of the workplace of God, the kingdom of Christ.

Read the full article by clicking here.

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