Good discussion of a very sensitive subject. If I may, I'd like to offer the following to add to the reason why pilots seem to have a more together approach to the collective bargaining process.
First, in today's industry, it is the AME who should be able to write his/her own salary as it is increasingly difficult to find qualified AME's. Many countries now require AME wannabee's to go to school for two years before they can even touch an airframe. That certainly cannot be said for pilots in most countries, if my example can be used.
Notwithstanding this condition, it is often said in collective bargaining circles that people don't get what they should, they get what they bargain for.
Most pilot unions worldwide are comprised of, you guessed it, pilots.
Most AME groups around the world are represented by professional bargaining units, which may or may not contain a certain percentage of AME's.
All big traditional unions could give a hoot about the longterm wellfare of their members. Big unions are big business. Perhaps not-for-profit, or perhaps profitable in one way or another. If the dues stop, the representation stops. I saw this first-hand during the collapse of Canada 3000. The pilots were left high-and-dry to fend for themselves the day after the collapse. Even though having paid up to 3% of their salary for nearly two years to ALPA, the union was nowhere to be found after the collapse when the pilots needed help the most. Help in securing support from the government retraining department as a big "for instance".
That opinion might seem to run counter to what I alluded to earlier about pilots being in control of most pilot unions. Prior to being represented by ALPA, the Canada 3000 pilots had a reasonably effective in-house union. After the collapse of C3
and the seeming abandonment by ALPA, it was the left-overs of our old union that tried to stitch things together. Even today, nearly 3 years after the fact, there is still a former C3
'er who keeps tabs on everyone's whereabouts and communicates current addresses/phone numbers to our now defunct membership.
But I digress...
To answer MD11Engineer, I think the key to answering your question is in finding out just how well an outsider can best represent your interests, especially if one group's interests conflict with another. Kind of like a divorcing couple in a particularly bitter dispute both use the same lawyer.