Scipes sorts through this literature, periodizing the various approaches to the question of why labour imperialism emerged, from the early accounts that understood it as being externally imposed by the state and state agencies like the CIA to more recent accounts that see it as emerging from within the labour movement and linked to the rise of business unionism.
While quite briefly and mostly with a focus on the post-Sweeney era, Scipes includes a history of resistance to labour imperialism.
The most glaring contradiction identified by Scipes is the involvement of staff and leaders in the State Department's Advisory Committee on Labor and Diplomacy throughout the Bush Administration and the role of the National Endowment for Democracy in continuing to serve as the primary funding source for the solidarity centres.
Scipes covers the role of the AFL-CIO in Chile, the Philippines, and Venezuela in detail and points to several others through his analysis of the origins of labour imperialism and via his notes.
Scipes traces the origin of AFL-CIO collusion and support of US Empire to AFL founder Samuel Gompers and his philosophy of "business unionism that accepts the domination of society by corporate power; that organizes worker-members to fight for their limited interests instead of those of all working people; that is isolated from the community and resources outside of the trade union movement; and that keeps its members subordinated and does not educate them.
Scipes is not some academic pontificating from an ivory university tower.
Scipes reports on the state of democracy within the AFL-CIO.