As low-wage, precarious work proliferates and economic inequality grows, working people in the United States need collective bargaining as much as ever. But precious few have access to it: By 2014, union membership had dwindled to 11.1 percent of the U.S. labor force, and to only 6.6 percent in the private sector. Strikes have also declined precipitously. This is not because workers have lost interest in labor organizing: survey after survey suggests that a large majority of them would vote for a union in their workplace, given the opportunity. Sadly, few get that opportunity these days, and when they do, employers typically go to great lengths to intimidate them into voting no.

Contrary to popular belief, de-unionization is not primarily due to globalization or new technology: Successful attacks on organized labor have affected many place-bound low-tech industries, like construction or hospitality, nearly as much as manufacturing. The primary driver of laborís decline is the growing power of corporate employers who are fiercely determined to weaken unions where they already exist and to prevent their emergence elsewhere. That determination is reinforced by the ideology of market fundamentalism, for which both unionism itself and governmental protection of the right to organize are anathema.