First, let me say that when I wrote that "I don't understand 'necessary'", I meant it. I still don't. What is meant by that? I can't agree that unions (banks, roads, food) are necessary until I know what is meant. That's not a dig against (or a support of) unions, just a question for the original poster.
What do you mean when you say "fair wages"? Fair compared to what similar workers got elsewhere (what I call "market wages")? Fair compared to the year's profits (below market wages in a bad year for that sector, above market wages for a good year)? Fair compared to the cost of living, without regard to the amount of work performed? Fair compared to historical wages at the same company? Fair compared to what people at the same company are making (not doubling the pay of the foremen while taking it out of the line workers' wages)?Unions (in my particular case) were instrumental in "selling" some very restrictive work rules and onerous schedules to their members in return for delivering some fair wages, retirement benefits, etc.
But neither unions nor companies can keep their side of the bargain. Workers can decide to not work despite a union's agreement (forming a new union, work slowdowns/stoppages/sit-ins, or simply leaving for other jobs). Companies can have governments void contracts or can go into bankruptcy proceedings to do the same. And government regulations can change the cost per worker (mostly up, but sometimes down) without allowing the company (or in those rare cases, the union) to renegotiate. Say a union and company agree to a five-year contract with $18/hour wages alongside a particular benefits package, then the government removes an expensive safety requirement that was costing the company $3/hour/worker. The union doesn't get to negotiate (until 5 years later) to get either the same safety features (even though they're no longer required), or some amount of the savings in wages -- unfair to the workers.That might not seem "necessary", but it is surely advantageous for companies to know that they have a stable work-force that can help them deliver value to share-holders in the "long" (3-5 years in the stupid vernacular of US corporations) -term.
Who is saying that? I've never heard those words ("The guys at the top of the corporate ladder are never wrong"), or anything to their effect, from any person except mockingly. That's a strawman.The guys at the top of the corporate ladder are never wrong ... see any patterns?