The real triumph of the decades-long propaganda war against organized labor isn't best seen in the ever-declining rate of unionization, or ever-increasing income inequality, or even the way the word "union" functionally works as an epithet. It's seen, instead, in the fact that so many otherwise smart, thoughtful people don't seem to know what unions actually do.
Take this recent column in the Washington Post on the National Labor Relations Board's ruling in the Northwestern unionization case, in which Sally Jenkins argues that revenue-generating labor undertaken for benefits isn't quite enough to form the basis of an employer-employee relationship. In her argument, a scholarship is a privilege, coaching and medical care are valuable free stuff, and the main significance of the NLRB's ruling is that it raises a lot of unanswerable questions. Are Harvard rowers exploited laborers? How will players form a bargaining unit? Can women demand to be paid like men? What IS the sound of one hand clapping, anyway?