You had unions that provided you benefits you thought wortwhile, including better pay, benefits, etc. That should be reason enough for people to join the union — they see a benefit to them in belonging. My view is that the people who don't want to join the union should not be part of the bargaining unit (BU) and not subject to the CBA that the union negotiated for its members. They should not get the benefits for free, not should they be stuck with terms of the CBA they do not like. Those nonmembers then would have to strike their own deal with the employer. Unless they can get at least as good a deal from the employer as the union members get they may well be motivated to join the union because the union offers something beneficial to them. But if they can do better on their own, then there is no reason for them to be in the union and the union will have to step up its efforts if it wants to remain viable in the long run. That's how it should work — employees ought to be free or to join or not join a union but if they don’t join they are not part of the BU and no part of the CBA would apply to them. That's the most fair way to work it. Then no one is forced to pay for or be a part of something they don't want but at the same time they are not getting what the union sees as a free ride on its efforts either.Forcing a few people to pay to represent those who choose NOT to pay is not any more fair than forcing me to pay for political action committees. Too many will ignore the benefits of the union for the math that shows that they can have the benefits without the cost. Only if the unions can manage to add extras (insurance, discounts, etc.) that will further increase dues can they hope to sell their product to the truly mercenary.
Unions have long wanted to force every one to belong and to pay regardless of what the employee might want. Witness their CBAs in states with out right to work laws — they negotiate for provisions in which the employer will force new employees to be members of the union. Of course that's great for the union, but not great for employee freedom of choice. I favor giving the employee the right to choose whether to join or not. That forces the union to convince employees it offers something valuable. That's how it should be. I have no interest in strengthening unions at the expense of employee choice.