As Union participation has declined, so have wages.
Wage Stagnation, Growing Insecurity, and the Future of the U.S. Working Class - Monthly Review
Unions - even if you're not represented by them - help maintain a balance against corporate interests that makes sure that as American productivity continues to rise so do working people's wages.
If it were solely up to the corporate interests paying people nothing (or next to it) would give them the highest profits. As long as the top classes can create enough goods and services for one another to maintain their status, they could return to indentured servitude for the rest of the nation.
This is precisely what they want. It's really a destruction of capitalism by pretending to be capitalist. Those who are on top are trying to remove all the rungs below them and they do so by making education unaffordable for most families (this is what vouchers will do - because the schools most in demand will raise their tuition rates, eventually making the vouchers worthless and destroying the public schools in the meantime). For capitalism to succeed, you have to keep the middle class fat and happy. The unions did a good job of that by maintaining wage levels for non-union workers to compare themselves to.
Now that they're largely gone, people make much less (adjusted for inflation) than their parents did. What's going to happen is that you're going to end up with a system you like a lot less than this one. Everyone pretends that they're against wealth redistribution, but through no-bid government contracts, corporate farm subsidies, tax breaks for multi-million dollar mortgages and vacation homes -wealth is being redistributed - continually upward to the top 5%.
Their propaganda network convinces working people to vote against their own self-interest and blame the person on the rung below them (never realizing that the rungs above them are merely an illusion). Unions are one of the few ways left for people to organize - the same way corporations do when they form PACs, etc. They form PACs because they know that if they work together, they have an even stronger voice. Then they fund a network that pretends that the individuals who work for them are better off being a lone voice against their billions of dollars.
Fools believe them and continue to vote for people who will continue to take money away from working people and giving it to the Ivory Tower elites who need at least two more gated homes to make up for their tiny penises.
People ACTUALLY believe the way to solve the unemployment crisis is to lay more people off. This is Orwell's world now. Wisconsin is only the most obvious example of this double-speak.
The haggardness of poverty is everywhere seen contrasted with the sleekness of wealth, the exhorted labor of some compensating for the idleness of others, wretched hovels by the side of stately colonnades, the rags of indigence blended with the ensigns of opulence; in a word, the most useless profusion in the midst of the most urgent wants.Jean-Baptiste Say