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As I have said in the past I belonged to a union for less than 2 years which occurred when employed at MIT. I had met Woody Guthrie once, when I first became interested in folk music. The transition to a 3 level social structure from the standard two level system was not an easy one and far from being pretty. All workers reaped the benefit of the work and advances carried out by the unions.
Another thing to remember is that it took time for the USA to allow all residents of the country above the age of 21 to vote. Of our Founding Fathers, few were honorable, many had several mistresses and most were little different than the ones we have today. If Thomas Jefferson had been in the country more, in those early years the Constitution may have been quite different. George Mason was responsible for having the Bill of Rights added, supported by Jefferson.
I may be wrong; but of the struggle we are now experiencing at the present time is the reverse of the formation of the Late and Great Middle Class.
Some Unions were taken over by a criminal element and some went too far; but they still played an major roll in increasing the pay rate for all.
The Royalty of the Industrial Revolution bought respectability, much of the actions needed for amassing their fortunes pushed the limits of legality and when necessary crossing it. Is that so different than what is happening today? They major difference between the late 1800s and the first half of the 20th century and the present time is the addition of the Tea Party.
CEOs are taking care of them selves and with all the reforms instituted since this last financial crisis very little has changed. The difference between the top and the rest of us is increasing at a greater rate. I believe the elimination of the unions is a tool being used to allow this to happen.