Those who wish to demonize unions forget the vital role they played in our society. Labor unions were at the front of the civil rights movement. Unions also had a large part to do with the prosperity our country enjoyed for the two decades after WWII. They often point to the faults of unions, like instances of corruption or intimidation. Oddly enough, these same people are often quick to overlook the faults of capitalism (see Enron, Deep Water Horizon, Love Canal, etc). Truth is, no economic system will ever be perfect, because we're going to be a part of them. And let's face it, as a whole, the human race could screw up anything.
As for the title of this post, it's part of a quote from President Lincoln's Annual Address Before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society, at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, September 30, 1859. Lincoln was discussing the views on slave labor versus free labor. The full quote is:
They hold that labor is prior to, and independent of, capital; that, in fact,
capital is the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not
first existed; that labor can exist without capital, but that capital could
never have existed without labor. Hence they hold that labor is the superior –
greatly the superior – of capital.
If you want to know what side Abe came out on, just read the whole speech, especially the last line: Educated people must labor.