At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question. It is not exactly forbidden to say this, that or the other, but it is 'not done' to say it . . . Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the highbrow periodicals.
-- GEORGE ORWELL, Animal Farm (1945)
This book challenges the prevailing orthodoxy that maintains that labor unions today engage essentially in collective bargaining and are not primarily political organizations, and that the political spending of organized labor is minuscule when compared with the campaign contributions pouring forth from the business community. The truth is that the raison d'être of organized labor has become partisan politics, resulting in its wielding political influence far disproportionate to the number of members it represents.
The evidence marshaled in this volume proves beyond a reasonable doubt, not merely by its weight, that:
(1) Organized labor ranks among the most powerful and active political forces in the United States. Indeed, its leaders refer to it, quite credibly, as the most effective political machine in the country and as the most influential single voice in national policyrnaking, since more than one half of the members of the United States Senate and House of Representatives, as well as a large number of state and local political officials, owe their offices in material part to election support, financial and other, furnished by organized labor.
(2) To a great degree, the funds supporting organized labor's political activities come from the dues paid by union members, most of whom are under compulsory-unionism contracts, and that those funds are committed to partisan political purposes without regard to the normally conflicting political sentiments, loyalties, and wishes prevailing among union members.
Despite an existing federal statute prohibiting labor unions from spending their dues money for partisan political activities, organized labor today is contributing tens of millions of dollars to candidates it supports, most of whom are of a single political party. The federal statute that unions are flagrantly violating, and that up to the present time law-enforcement authorities have enforced only rarely against unions, is the Federal Corrupt Practices Act as amended by the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, found in title 18, section 610 of the United States Code. The act -- applicable to corporations, national banks, and labor unions -- is reproduced in full at the conclusion of this Introduction, but the following excerpt is key to the discussion here: