You remember the old song performed by Tennessee Ernie Ford " You Load Sixteen Tons And What Do You Get, Another Day Older And Deeper In Debt" That's not just the words to a song.....it happened. The railroads, the mines, every small enterprise or company paid the least amount they could get by with and there were no benefits at all. People worked 12 hours a day for less than a dollar and their mid day meal. If the company one was working for heard a complaint or a discouraging word an employee was told to collect their pay and find another job. In the 1940's and early 50's a corporate executive earned about $20,000-$25,000 per year.Along about that time the unions began to negotiate for and gain some salary amounts and benefits. Every time the union was about to be successful at some effort the companies(by default) gave it to their salaried people first........where I worked sometimes as close as two weeks before they awarded it to the union employees. By the 70's a corporate executive's pay had increased to several hundred thousand dollars a year because the unions were begining to accomodate base line employees with a living wage and new benefits each year. When I hired in with Union Carbide Corp. in 1952 they had a pension plan but cost was shared by the employee. A person earning $4000-$5000 a year who had a family of four usually didn't even take part in the guaranteed lifetime pension which was based upon their salary at retirement and their years of service. They couldn't afford it if they planned to educated their children. I was single and began the first day to pay into the pension plan. About 4-5 years later the union negotiated for and received a company funded pension plan and they negotiated for it to be retroactive. I received a lump sum payment for every penny I had paid into the plan and retired with a company funded pension after 41 years service. People today have no clue about what the unions did for ordinary employees. The only reason companies today pay anybody a goddam dime more than they have to is the threat of a union. If they weren't still on the scene companies would still have railroad workers living in side cars paying half of their salary in rent and miners would still be working in totally unsafe conditions for enough to buy their groceries at the stores the companies operated. The youth of today look around and think companies are on their side, and a few are, but for the most part a company operates for the highest bottom line profit and would screw their own kin for each employee to earn $10 a week less or to not be required to carry health insurance. Before unions there was no such thing as OSHA or the EPA and employees worked in asbestos, uranium, coal mines, and all manner of other potentially unsafe conditions and men bragged about working in the most adverse conditions. I know....I worked in the Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant(ORGDP) where the light green powdered form of uranium was everywhere and the operators didn't even wear masks or wear an individual badge to determine radiation exposure till the early 70's If there had never been such a thing as a union 90% of the employees of today would be working for a pittance in completely unsafe conditions. A company has never given anybody a dime they didn't have to and they never will. Thank goodness a few large corporations who employ mostly well educated technical personnel have begun to see the light and voluntarily treat the employees with respect and pay them good salaries.......It happens about as frequently as teeth in a chicken.