https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVBextju7jY in minute: 25 and from that point there is a debate about a law that is claimed to kill the unions - the union will have to pay for all representation costs even for workers that don't pay to the union... In your lectures you talk about the way in which the mass of Americans learned to identify the socialist with the communists who were identified as Russian enemy supporters and that this was a process of many years. How many Americans were actually unionized before this process? Were really a third of the American labor force unionized in the 80's? How many American workers were actually unionized at the "pick" of American unionization?
In the late 1940s and into the 1950s, about 1/3 of US workers - in both the private and public sectors combined - were represented by labor unions. Today, less than 7% of private sector workers are represented by unions and about 25% of public sector unions: a half-century of decline. In 1947, the US Congress passed and the President then signed the Taft-Hartley Act that required all unions to provide any and all job benefits they won from employers (wage increases and job benefit improvements) to all workers in a workplace (factory, office or store) regardless of whether such workers joined the union or paid dues or joined in strike action etc. It created an incentive for workers to not join or pay dues to a union since they would get whatever the union got from employers in any case. The goal of the Republican-led legislation was to weaken and destroy unions which it largely did.