In a national political experiment designed to balance the power between labor and management, Congress enacted compulsory, institutionalized unionism via the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) in 1935. The public policy announced in that Act continues today and is based on the assumption that the public interest is best served by having employees organized by labor unions. The glue that holds the policy together consists of special powers, privileges and immunities granted to labor union organizers and officials, such as the power to privately tax workers in the form of mandatory dues for the right to work.

Based on the assumption that unions were good for everyone, special features of the law were created to protect unionization at the expense of individual employee rights. Three particularly burdensome provisions of federal law are exclusive representation, union security, and mandatory collective bargaining. These provisions often work in combination to trap employees in an environment in which their individual rights are subordinated in favor of the so-called "collective good."