Unions gained a strong foothold from tremendous abuse by employers in the early coal miner days that brought about Tennessee ErnieFord’s famous song, “16 ton and what’a you get? Another day older and deeper in debt, St. Peter I can't go, I owe my soul to the company store.” Working conditions were extremely dangerous, a living wage was non-existent, and a whole host of other issues were present. Born out of this abuse from too strong an employer the unions finally came into being.
If the unions disappeared completely then I have no doubt similar conditions would return in some cases. Hence the love-hate relationship continues. The problem to me appears to be most acute if one or the other becomes too powerful and then abuses its power.
Negotiations should have a goal to achieve a win win final outcome, not a win lose. I think this can best be done if all union members would participate more closely in the process. I would encourage all that have a direct interest on the employer side to have some say and direct knowledge in the process also. I realize this can be difficult to do, but I think this will bring better outcomes for all.