Supposedly, labor unions are the ones to thank for all of our laws protecting workers against exploitation. Company towns, child labor, and other labor injustices were overcome by the organization of labor. Unions, as the story goes, began as saintly guardians and only became the corrupt, thuggish organizations we know today after many decades of humble service to the poor and abused.
Do you believe it?
Could such worker protection laws have emerged — would they have emerged — without union leadership? If that leadership was found elsewhere, was union involvement necessary to the movement?
For comparison, consider the abolition of slavery in the Northern states before the war. Were organizations of blacks the driving force behind this change? Or did free citizens sympathetically advocate for the freedoms of their black neighbors?
And I suppose child labor laws arose after a bunch of kids organized to stick it to The Man?
What about today? Do unions preserve those worker protections? Or do laws and other social standards preserve them?