Real hunger might have had him eat anything softer.
Try this for size. I actually hate Trade Unionism. I lived through the 2nd World War as a youngster and joined the R.A.F as soon as I could.
I left at the age of 40 and sought work. My first job was working in a carpet making factory and I was soon asked to join the union. I asked for a rule book and about 6 months later one was given to me in great ceremony in the canteen. I read through it and found that a regular deduction was to made from a members wages and paid to the local Labour MP. I found that there was an opt out and exercised it and submitted my application.
On payday the next week the union had deducted this levy and back dated it to the day I joined the firm, not the union. I went to a solicitor, took his views, on paper, to the Union Rep and said that If the union did not return every single penny in cash by the time my shift ended that I'd have no alternative to taking them to court. To cut it short I received my money delivered to my house. I did not pursue joining that union. I thought it was corrupt and said so at the time.