In another thread there's a subsidiary discussion that is getting into the ideas of unions. I didn't want to derail the thread by taking the discussion in to unions and labour relations but it's a very interesting topic to me and I've been a senior union official in my union (was for some years, not now) so I'm biased in favour of unions and what they do, but I'm not blind to their faults. US unions are a strange lot to me. Although they are tied up with the AFL-CIO (an interesting organisation) and are supposed to be close to the Democratic Party, US unions seem to me to be highly apolitical (compared to unions in Europe and Australia I mean). I'm not ignoring Canadian unions which are organised similarly to US unions, so I suppose I should have titled this North American unions but I didn't because I didn't want someone to think it was about the <reaches for tinfoil hat> the coming union of Canada, the US and Mexico. Are you in a union? Do you think unions do good or are just out to get your dues and give you nothing in return? Are unions needed? Are they effective? Any opinion at all?