Labor unions have evolved tremendously since their inception in 1866 in the United States. Today, some unions in the Buffalo region are responding to free market fundamentalism with the development of multiple coalition partners. Coalitions are composed of unions and like-minded activist organizations. This creative response to a long-term economic crisis has created a high road social infrastructure. Unions have moved beyond their traditional roles of collective bargaining and representation to a more community-oriented mission of improving the quality of local jobs.