BTW, in the '80s the town I live in was a serious unemployment black spot. I was on the dole for nearly 2 years. Then it was announced that Ford, a large car manufacturer, were to open a plant making electrical bits for their cars, employing over 1000 people. However, they only wanted to deal with one union and selected the IEEE, being an electrical plant made some sense. However, the biggest union in Ford UK was the TGWU who did not find this acceptable so threatened to close all Ford's UK operations if the chosen union wasn't them. The factory and the jobs went to Spain. Better being on the dole than not being in the T&G, eh?
Still, at least I was managing to pick up odd bits of contract work. On one site I was covering for someone on long term sick. until the union found out, and found out that my Ts&Cs were different to union staff, because I wasn't employed by the company, I was employed by an agency. So, out I went. Still, at least the union were protecting someone's rights, although i never found out who. Maybe ernie can explain.
Now, things are different and I work for a large organisation, and the union negotiate my wages. They negotiated a less than then inflation three year deal, effectively dropping my wages in real terms. there was no consultation, just a letter explaining what a wonderful job the union had done in securing a real terms cut in my salary. I would have raised this at the agm, but there was no agenda so it was hard to get things on to the agenda for discussion. Still at least i got a nice shiny magazine every so often telling what a wonderful job the union were doing by helping me get by by consuming fewer of the world's precious resources and stopping me from getting angry by expressing my displeasure at the lack of consultation or discussion.