It turns out that while you SAID you were working for The People, you were really working for The Man—the little freebie weekends that the CEO of MegaCorp used to give you at his Barbados home to "help you think through the negotiations" turned into briefcases of cash. You got caught. And now, like all defunct union people, you wear cement shoes somewhere about 30 miles off the Jersey coastline.
You came. You called a strike. You lost. Now there's no union to head. You’re a line windshield wiper hanger now who is viewed with scorn and derision by your peers for having overplayed your hand…thought you had more power than you really did. Dreamer? Zealot? Failure. But at least a living one.
You run a little union—like Local 313, the machinist union in a growing city with lots of construction. Technology and Chinese labor is replacing a lot of what you do but your area is growing fast enough that you don't really feel it. You never have serious power but you like what you do and have a reasonably friendly relationship with senior management.
You progress from small union head to larger union head—now you run the Teamsters, the most powerful union in the United States. Think about it: If truckers stopped trucking, (keep on…), how would goods get delivered? What would happen to Amazon?
You run Teamsters…and you won. And now the very Leftist People's Republic of the United States wants to elect you President. Good luck with that. You get free pens.