> Paying rent to the company and being forced to buy from the company store IS a form of slavery
There is no slavery. Workers have a right to enter, and they have a right to leave. Guess what, some people actually prefer having the security of a meal every day to working 16 hours a day and being subject to the whims of the harvest on the field.
And labor laws and unions are really not as useful as you think. If you look at the historical record of what wage laborers' conditions have been over the centuries, you'll find that the chief determinant is not "greed" or unions or laws - it's supply and demand. 14th century, Black Death happened, and, as counterintuitive as it seems, living conditions shot up across the board. We had an 8-hour day for the first time. 19th century, population boom, wages at subsistence. Early 20th century, population growth started to go down as we invented birth control, and wages went up again. Now, things went down a little one more time for those of us lucky enough to be born on the right continent because the world markets got opened up, while living conditions have been measurably going up across the board in the rest of the world (somewhat less in Africa and southeast Asia, which just happens to be where the evil exploiting multinationals are the weakest). Freedom - it's a socialist wealth redistribution scheme :)