"Very expensive" relative to what? How horribly exploitive do you want
the labor/management relationship to be?
Unions -- collective bargaining -- exist to create the possibility for
workers to get a decent day's pay for a decent day's work. If they
didn't exist, workers would be at the mercy of a one-sided relationship
with management. Unions balance the relationship better.
I do not think a reasonable salary, a decent amount of vacation/sick
leave, a reliable health-care plan, and a decent retirement pension is
In the US economy right now, we're in an era of increasingly exploitive
management, which walks away from pension and health care, demands
"give-backs" from labor under threat of layoffs, contracts work out to
cheaper labor which has no choice, redefines employees as "independent
contractors" to wiggle out of paying decent benefits, and invents all
sorts of other tricks to make their labor less "expensive".
Union-busting is where it's at.
Sure, we can make labor less "expensive". But as a society, we'll be
sorry in the end. Nope, if we want others to do stuff for us (teach our
kids, fight our fires, catch our crooks, collect our garbage, drive our
buses, build our cars, and so on and so on) we've got to be willing to
cough up the price of treating them humanely.
To which I gave the following answer: