It is clear that the current union movement is in trouble and workers could be better served. Unions are beginning to change in small ways to meet the new demands of the 21st century worker, but there is much more that they need to do. The most fundamental change will be moving away from relying on compulsion and monopolistic privileges to embracing a model that rests on winning member support by providing valuable services.
Part of this is unions recognizing that they should focus on representing only the interests of those who wish to be represented. Like most businesses, they should try to convince buyers to voluntarily purchase their services. As outlined in this paper, there are many valuable services that unions could offer workers.
Unions must adapt to survive. The way forward for the labor movement is to inject employee choice and voluntary exchange into their outdated business model. To thrive they need to focus on the needs of individual workers and remove the training wheels of compulsion and special privileges afforded them in current labor law. In this way, they will prove their worth to both employees and employers.