Freedom ain't free, fellas.
I was very "fortunate" to join an industry in decline straight out of college. I almost got into a union in my first job, but I got canned at the end of my probation so I was never officially a member.
In my last job, after our corporate overlords at Tribune Co. decreed that my newspaper would be shut down, we formed a bargaining unit to get severance. I'd been there 13 years by then. The offer started at two weeks. I ended up with six months.
In between, no union. After that first job ($24,000 a year in 1988) I started again making $18,500 in 1990. Full time work, plus more, but no overtime pay. At then end, in 2017, I earned the princely salary of $46,000, with three weeks vacation and some sick time. We even got a little overtime when the 2015 "uprising" happened and we did 12-20-hour riot shifts. Fortunately, I never found out how good or bad our medical insurance was.
I'm not bitter. I had a lot of fun in my work, and in three decades of investigating fraud, tracking down murderers and writing at length about complex public issues I never expected to earn the kind of middle-class, family-supporting paycheck that, say, an entry-level city government receptionist might rate.
Then again, had union representation been the norm instead of the exception, my expectations might have been more realistic.