Issues

Workers stuck paying plush AFL-CIO union salaries

AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, D.C., used money taken from workers to pay union officers and employees an average of $89,328 during fiscal 2014.

Including every individual for whom AFL-CIO reported a gross salary to the U.S. Department of Labor — from president Richard Trumka on down — the union coalition spent over $35 million on compensation for three officers and 391 employees.

In 26 states and the District of Columbia, private-sector workers can be forced to pay AFL-CIO affiliates as a condition of employment. Public-sector workers can be forced to pay union fees in D.C. and 23 states, although thousands of Wisconsin and Michigan workers have exercised their ability to opt out as a result of recent reforms.

Millions siphoned from taxpayers make their way to AFL-CIO each year, as the union coalition’s largest affiliates are American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and American Federation of Teachers. This explains AFL-CIO support for bigger government, but AFL-CIO headquarters pay stands in contrast to the organization’s politics.

AFL-CIO backed the fringe-left Occupy Wall Street movement launched in late 2011, and it continues to embrace the group’s “99 percent” rhetoric. Solidarity with low-income workers is a major theme of AFL-CIO efforts to increase union membership, grow government and hike corporate taxes.

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