The current and future situation of trade union experience is characterized by the natural protecting function, together with compatibility and flexibility features. It seems a composite reality, with labor force diversities and different degrees of asymmetries in employment relationships. Its prior functions (distributive processes and employment rules) do often favor diversities; its unifying functions (like supporting employment) turn out to be added and mixed with motivations not tied to trade unions. Because of its difficulties, trade union action has two strategic options: (i) political action, (ii) industrial relations. Those are not alternative: European trade unions will continue to act in both directions; however, the second choice seems preferable, in order to overcome difficulties in the long run.