Big Labor: A $20 Billion-a-Year Business

With $20.1 billion in aggregate annual receipts, Big Labor has become Big Business with a twist. It gets much of its money through force. Approximately 80% of union contracts contain some form of ‘union security’ requirement forcing employees to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment.” And, after being forced to fork over much of their hard earned wages to Big Labor Bosses, these workers have little say in how the money is spent.

The National Institute for Labor Relations Research recently released a report, “Big Labor: A $20 Billion-a-Year Business. See excerpt following:

A review of union disclosure forms conducted by the National Institute for Labor Relations Research just three years ago found that total compensation for union officers and staff members constituted 35% of total union receipts from dues and fees. The current review shows that total compensation has skyrocketed to just over half of dues-and-fees receipts.

And during federal election years, most paid union officers are assigned to work on political campaigns for months at a time. In every election cycle, the thousands and thousands of union officers and staff members who “volunteer” full time for political campaigns while continuing to collect their forced dues-funded salaries and benefits constitute an unreported, “in-kind” political contribution from Organized Labor to its chosen candidates worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

In addition to paid “volunteer” time, other forced dues-funded “in-kind” political contributions include union propaganda mailings, phone banks, and get-out-the-vote drives. The total value of such contributions cannot be estimated precisely.

However, in a February 20, 2005, op-ed for the Los Angeles Times, union activist Jon Tasini acknowledged that the value of forced dues-funded electioneering dwarfs the roughly $100 million in reported contributions to federal candidates and so-called “527 groups” that the union hierarchy has made in recent campaign cycles.

Mr. Tasini, a former union president and the former national director of the union front group “American Rights at Work,” now heads the Labor Research Association, a New York City-based union consulting operation. In his op-ed, he reported that several “union political experts” had told him that “unions spend seven to 10 times what they give candidates and parties on internal political mobilization.”

So, Mr. Tasini continued, “we’re talking $8 to $12 billion on union internal political mobilization” in “federal elections alone” between 1979 and 2004. No other type of nonprofit organization has sufficient staff to make “in-kind” contributions of anywhere near this magnitude. And business certainly has no parallel political army, since profit-minded shareholders rarely if ever are willing to release their managers from normal business for months on end so that they can politick full time.