"Article 23 of the Universal Declaration states: "Everyone has the right to work, to just and favorable conditions of work, and to protection against unemployment, with remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, supplemented if necessary by other means of social protection." Furthermore, "everyone has the right to form and join trade unions, for protection of his interests."
To take the last point first, in the US, technically, everyone has the right to join a trade union. But the reality is quite different. In 1992, the International Labor Organization, which rarely has an unkind word for its paymasters, called on the US to conform to international labor standards on "permanent replacement workers," which were then violated only by the US and South Africa in the industrial world. "Permanent replacement workers," otherwise known as scabs, are those brought in to replace sacked unionized workers to break strikes: international labor law condemns the practice, but it is condoned in the US. There was an article in Business Week last week describing some of the consequences of the American state's vicious anti-labor activities. Illegal firings for union organizing have gone up sixfold, it reckoned, in the past 25 years. In particular, thousands of union organizers have been illegally fired since the start of Ronald Reagan's presidency in 1981.
According to the US Labor Department, the destruction of the unions as been the main factor in the decline of real wages that has continued since the Reagan era. Health and safety standards in the workplace have also deteriorated: there are laws, but they're simply not enforced, so the number of industrial accidents has risen sharply in the past ten years. Then there is the effect of the decline of unions on democracy: the unions are one of the few means by which ordinary people can enter the political arena. Finally, there's a psychological effect. The destruction of the unions is part of a much more general effort to privatize aspirations, to eliminate solidarity, the sense that we're all in it together, that we care for one another" -Noam Chomsky
"In cases in which production requires great division of labour, it is necessary to form an ASSOCIATION among the workers... because without that they would remain isolated as subordinates and superiors, and there would ensue two industrial castes of masters and wage workers, which is repugnant in a free and democratic society." -Pierre joseph proudhon