Really what's the difference? The purpose of a forum is to share information and strike conversation between people that share similar interests. A union only takes this one step further with an extra layer of depth by adding a front page where articles in blog fashion can be posted.
Unions haven't been surfaced in the main navigation on this site for years, yet people still find a way to keep them alive. Perhaps it isn't the best idea that anyone can create a union. I do believe if this was a premium feature for paid membership gamespot would have much more luck with people not having to sift through dozens of crap unions. Also owners of the boards would be much more inclined to stick with their union since they are paying for the service.
Yes, unions have problems, but it really seems like a waste for them to neglect them further. As long as people still go to gamespot, there will always be demand for user created forums in some fashion. Might as well fix the system you already have than make a new one from scratch.