Far more accurate to say that Greed killed these industries, both on the parts of management and on union leaders. You seem to think that management is helpless in the face of union demands. But they are not.
Possibly. However greed is a universal fact of human nature, and the failure of such industries is very strongly correlated with their infestation with labor unions. Are we to believe that the non union (or offshore sited) industries in this country are led by non greedy managers and staffed by non greedy workers?
It's less about union vs. non-union and more about the conscious choices that management and labor make.
As American workers typically enjoy higher standards within their workplace and require higher pay to maintain a medium standard of living in this country than those in 3rd-world countries do, the cost of production of goods in these industries - union or not - is necessarily higher. This means that similar goods are produced for less profit than industries that decide to outsource in most cases.
What other way to describe management who affirmatively decides to make things here in America, then less interested in profit than those who do not? How would you characterize these groups?
The model holds true amongst other industries as well. Companies that pay their workers more money and have better benefits as compared to other typical companies could very rightly described as 'less greedy.' These companies, if you listen to investment advisers and analysts, never make as much in profits as those who are 'more competitive' with their benefit and pay structure.
Let's look at an example of that: Sam's Club, Walmart's bulk outlet - vs. Costco. Costco pays its' employees far more than Sam's and offers health insurance as well, whereas Walmart typically does not. So it's inherently going to be less profitable than Sam's on the same volume of sales. However, Costco has grown tremendously and is a very successful company at this point.
This is in large part because of their investment in their workforce and conscious decision to accept lower profit margins than their competitors. Because of this they will also get less investors - my (old) financial adviser said 'they're a dog, stay away from them.'
Can Costco be described as 'less greedy' than companies who do everything possible to maximize profit? I think that would be an accurate way to describe it. Their success in the face of large, well-financed competition who has a 'more competitive' business structure shows, I believe, that it is completely possible to run businesses in today's America while respecting the concept that all workers matter, and that everyone's contribution is worth a both a living wage and respect.