I saw something on tv news today that there has been a significant increase in starting salaries for college grads, especially with business degrees. I did a Google search to find an article, but I didn't get any current search results. I assume the tv report is true. It said nothing about the availablity of jobs, but according to the report, those college grads being hired are making more money than those who came before them.
This suggests that education and specialized knowledge are valuable, and I have no doubt that going forward those who possess specialized knowledge pertinent to our modern global economy will do well. This brings education to the forefront of important issues. A young person can no longer rely on traditional manufacturing jobs, although manunfacturing in America is doing just fine. No industry relies on labor as much as before technological changes and automation. Labor will still be valuable, but current labor requires more education and skill than it once did, and acquiring the knowledge and skills is more important than union protection of wages.
Unions can still play a role working with companies to offer the best products at the highest level of productivity and efficiency possible, but the global economy will have no patience for wage and pension wars between labor and management. If unions want to do something useful, they can push for better education and better job-training offered by industry. A large part of the working population between 35 and 55 is in need of re-training and specialized knowledge. I see this as an education gap in need of being filled with some creative solutions.
This is an area where unions and companies can work together to benefit everyone concerned.