My old man was a wharfie and as such a member of a quite militant watersiders union. Then later as an apprentice boilermaker myself I remember sitting around the smoko table listening to how the boss was screwing us and the fall back answer if ever questioned would start like this:
"If it weren't for the union...blah, blah, slave labor and all that bollocks you'll still get hear around here from the lefties, the likes of shav and his bud zahlanzi.
Some years later I went contracting as an individual, the terms were pretty simple, you work one hour you get paid one hour. There was no sick pay, no dirt money (how we loved to milk that one), no meal monies, no sick pay, no overtime rate, no holiday pay and no security. But dang, the money, oh yes, lovely.
About then having experienced the two sides I began to question all these great things we were supposed to be thankful to the union for. All those conditions came at a price.
Further, a couple of things have happened in Aus recently, the unions have taken to negotiating wages down, the obvious one was the car industry (now gone) The writing was on the wall and the union could see all their lovely dues flying away when everyone was to be made redundant.
And this one just recently, they negotiated a 20% cut:
To what extent do you think the union drives wages and condition? If they were any good at it they'd go to Indonesia or Cambodia and get everyone a 38 hour working week and 4 weeks holiday like here in Aus, that would be the test. Or are wages and conditions driven by yee olde supply and demand and trying to fight that is like trying to fight gravity.