--"I also find it odd that so many americans find the very idea (of workers gathering together to form a stronger position for bargaining with employers) somehow offensive."
A few things. First, the company is owned by someone else. It is their property; not the property of you or your uncle or the government. And like all property, they can operate it as they see fit and you are free to leave at any time. Second, unions make a company uncompetitive. They restrict how much you can automate things, who you can fire, what you can pay. This leads to companies being uncompetitive and going out of business - and then EVERYONE loses.
Americans just have a better understanding of freedom and how freedom actually works. Someone like Ron Paul is a stalwart example of this. I've seen very few Europeans who grasp these concepts, probably because their state-based education system was too powerful with the mind control.