The great union scam—scandalous salaries for leaders.
“The income inequality that exists in this country is a disgrace,” stated AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka in his May 2016 statement on executive pay. And Trumka is only one of many union leaders who rail against the evil “1%” who, they claim, exploit the other 99% for their wealth and power. And they’re right. There is a wealthy elite bamboozling and conning the working class and getting rich off their labor. They’re called union leaders.
Take Richard Trumka himself. He cut his teeth in the bloody union wars of coal country, as president of the United Mine Workers union. Now, he heads the largest and most powerful labor umbrella organization, certainly in the country, and possibly in the world. His salary, according to union filings with the U.S. Labor Department, is almost $300,000. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2015, the average salary in the United States was $56,000. And how does that compare your average rank and file union worker? In 2015, in Ohio, the average hourly wage for unionized workers was $20.03. That’s some serious income inequality. And it’s even worse than the numbers suggest. Trumka, in his capacity as labor leader, receives all sorts of perks and benefits far beyond the reach of the average coal-miner or steel-worker. Hobnobbing with congressmen and presidents, expensed steak dinners at swanky restaurants and paid speaking engagements are all part of his unofficial compensation package, courtesy of rank and file members. Yes, Trumka has made millions while blasting the “rich”. By stirring-up class envy and hatred, he justifies his power and position. Like other labor leaders, he, of course, hopes that union members won’t notice how rich he’s getting off the scam.
Labor leaders like Trumka claim that they are working hard for the union members, to get them decent pay and benefits from the evil employers they negotiate with. But what happens when those negotiations lead to labor costs that price the average union member out of a job? Well, Trumka and his contemporaries will still have cushy jobs, so it matters very little to them.
The Center for Worker Freedom’s Olivia Grady compiled a list of union leaders in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan, along with how their astronomical salaries compare to the union members they represent. For example, in Ohio, the United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 75, paid President Lennie Wyatt over $480,000, while Secretary Treasurer Steve Culter received over $500,000. It’s good to see that the union leaders maintain such sweet salaries while many of the working class in those areas and industries are struggling to pay rent and feed their families.
It’s not just in the manufacturing sectors that union leaders are perpetuating this scam. In Minnesota, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) skims 3% from the Medicaid subsidy designed for home healthcare workers taking care of disabled family members. For many, the Medicaid subsidy is the difference between making their mortgage payment and not making it. But the SEIU takes a cut of the money, courtesy of a corrupt bargain between union leaders, state legislators and Governor Mark Dayton. And while these homecare workers are struggling to make ends meet, the President of SEIU Minnesota Healthcare, Jamie Gulley, makes $118,951. And the national President of the SEIU, Mary Kay Henry, makes over $296,000.
Union leaders threw their weight behind Hillary Clinton, unsurprisingly. The same woman who promised to shut down the coal industry and put thousands out of work. The same woman who supported NAFTA and other job-killing trade deals. Union members need to wake up. Their leaders have conned them for a century, killing union jobs while getting rich in the process.