My Dues, 30 a month.
I get 6 weeks vacation, great sick time, and fantastic benefits.
I make 6 figures.
I work 4 tens, any after hours work is billable, being on call is billable. If I give a profession opinion or fact I can't be fired is it happen to be contrary to what some VP wants. Yes, I was fired for explaining why something wasn't possible to a VP. With facts and number and even maths. Yes, I was polite. Hell, once I was reprimanded for putting people in the wrong order in a cc in an email when I worked in the financial sector.
Working 40 is the minority of programmers schedule.
"That's ignoring the risk of the union making it hard to get rid of the people who sincerely need to go,"
I seen people let go. There is a process here, and it's a reasonable one. Warning, write up, write up with correction plan, fired.
It prevents people for getting fired for political reasons, and it also lets people know when their performance has dropped.
As a side note, I got a warning for my performance dropping. Since I normally evaluated as high as possible for my work, this lead e to finding out I was suffering from depression.
I've seen people join the union and think it's like the urban myth of the union. They don't last long.