Well, in a way it was like employment. Think of the mine workers before unions. Now, of course, there were still some differences. A mine worker who ran off only had to face the prospect of starvation and succumbing to the elements. A slave in biblical times would be brought back and beaten nearly to death. But a common thread was that the slaves and the workers were treated as expendable commodities who had little or no hope to improve their situation.
And that's also why I oppose conservatism. Oh, I don't agree with everything proposed by the liberals. But conservatism wants to restore things to the pre-union conditions. It's no secret that they want to break up unions. And there are conditions in which unions have gotten away from their proper purpose. But I don't want to see the working class again reduced to working 14-hour days, 6 days a week, starving and dying from sheer exhaustion before age 35 -- assuming the unsafe working conditions don't kill them first.