A labor union or trade union is an organization run by and for workers who have come together to achieve common goals in fair wages and working conditions.
The most visible labor unions are among public sector employees such as teachers and police. Labor unions engage in collective bargaining over wages, benefits, and working conditions for their members and on representing their members if management attempts to violate contract provisions.
The main role of unions is to protect employee rights in the workplace and to negotiate salaries, benefits, training and other conditions of employment.
The role of labor unions were much debated within the 2008 "Economic Crisis" when the three largest automakers in the U.S. asked for $50 Billion in loans in order to stay viable. According to some Senators costly labor agreements including pension and health plans put the U.S. automakers at a disadvantage to foreign companies resulting in their collapse. The American automobile had nothing to do with it.