Union organizers again fail to organize workers in a major industry. Surprise! Surprise! (See the New York Times article of February 16, 2017 ( http://nyti.ms/2lSFqkz).
Despite being, in theory, the most potent tactic that the "little people" (as are most workers in America—blue, pink, white collar, and even professionals) can have to actually achieve goals which would benefit them, their families and communities, and the society as a whole, they persistently reject the siren calls of union organizers.
Why is this? What is wrong with Kansas? Why do the little people persistently vote and act against their best interests?
Firstly, they are presented with no good options to act for themselves. The present governance and social relations system offers no effective and useful ways to assert their interests. Voting? For the same rotating elites who are mostly responsible for keeping them down? – No. Throwing monkey wrenches in the system like voting in seriously unqualified candidates (we know who they are!) or obstructing governance in crude and counterproductive ways (the Tea Party, Brexit-like activities) – No. What then?
The present system is deliberately designed to keep the little people in their place by the existing political-economic elite. The recent populist eruptions are, at best, only temporary, are definitely not going to achieve real benefits for the little people, and eventually will be managed and rendered impotent soon enough by this elite class. Unions have been tamed and/or crushed since the mid-1980s and have lost their ability to pushback the elite except for a very small segment of the populace and only in minor special interest fashion.
Secondly, the union concept has become toxic. Potential members almost cannot be rational about the benefits of collective bargaining and worker rights. The capitalist ideology imposed upon the society by the might of the media and other propaganda sources owned by the elite has been extremely effective. Worse, the grand unions of the past have self-destructed. In the past they were "collectively-oriented,” fighting for universal values like economic justice in fairness, diversity, humanity in the workplace and communities, and the like. They were obvious tools and allies of the little people. That no longer is the case.
Over the decades since the 1930s they evolved into more special-interest organizations looking only for goodies for themselves. That strategy in many ways put them at odds with their communities and nations. Taxpayers objected to double dipping pensions, underfunded pension systems, mobsterism, cronyism, and worse. The great goodwill of the grand unions of the 1930s-1960s has been squandered.
Unions still are a major component of any approach to improving the lives the little people. But, they have to reformulate themselves. They have to become general interests (not special interests), they have to become “holy” and redeem their role as part of a generalized humanistic, progressive movement.
See Chapter 9 of The Actual Manual on how "reformulated, unions can regain their credibility and again be the best friends of the little people.