Not a Spectator Sport
Unions are far more than a kind of employment insurance policy for working people. Plenty of union members and union officials have learned the hard way that when workers come to think of their union as a business that provides service rather than a group of people banding together to fight for common interests, the union quickly loses the clout and credibility needed to defend and advance the members’ interests. When an employer looks and sees only a small handful of paid union staff or elected union leaders, and no one standing behind them, pretty soon the employer starts thinking that “the union” isn’t really much to contend with. And the truth is, that’s right.
—Adapted from The Union Member's Complete Guide, by Michael Mauer