What would a country without unions look like? Before answering, we should clarify labor’s role, both historically and presently. The purpose of a labor union is and always has been to raise the standard of living for working people. Simple as that. And by “standard of living” we mean wages, benefits, and working conditions, all of which are acknowledged by federal labor law to be legitimate topics for discussion in collective bargaining.
Of course, anti-labor propagandists like to pretend that unions are cesspools of greed, corruption and ineptitude, and that the only things they care about are consolidating power and living high on the hog off the membership’s monthly dues. That’s the rancid and misleading version of unions they try to peddle. Unfortunately, misleading version or not, many people believe it.
If there were no unions, working people would have no means of resistance. Obviously, having no means of resistance is tantamount to having no leverage, and without leverage—without some form of bargaining power—we become sheep. If there were no unions, the arrangement would devolve into your classic “buyers’ market,” with management in the driver’s seat, and working men and women along for the ride.