Rank and file labor union members fighting for progress on issues like $15 per hour “living wage”, protection against layoffs and the reduction of hours for some members to 30 or less so businesses can avoid paying ObamaCare taxes might be surprised to learn this interesting fact.
A labor watchdog group Center for Union Facts (CUF) released a research report this past week that identified 162 union presidents who receive compensation packages in excess of the $180,700 a year.
The top 10 union presidents – which all refused to comment on the report – earn more than double that figure or $361,400 a year – more than the average Chief Executive Officer in corporate America is paid each year.
The winner in the gold plated “Union Boss Compensation Contest” is United Food and Commercial Workers Local 464 President John T. Niccollai who “earned” $575,000 in 2014 according to federal labor filings.
Niccollai represents 16,000 grocery store workers in New Jersey who pay the union nearly $500 in dues each year in addition to $50 to $150 in initiation fees when they first join.
Niccollai has raised dues by about 6 percent since 2013 and spent more than 7 percent of all dues and fees collected from union members on his own salary. If you add in the compensation packages paid to Niccollai’s top two deputies and the total rises to $1.3 million combined.
Nepotism plays a role as well. Niccollia’s son, John Niccollai III, was paid a $245,000 salary as the union’s highest paid staffer.
At the same time Niccollai II spent $3.4 million on union salaries, the union spent slightly more – $3.9 million – on representation activities in 2014.
Nine other union presidents received pay packages in excess of $370,000 including American Federation of Teachers (ATF) President Randi Weingarten who completed the top-10 list with a salary of $375,174, according to that union’s most recent report.
According to Rick Berman, executive director of the Center for Union Facts, huge salaries highlight the hypocrisy of union leaders who make more than the business owners they condemn.
“If Big Labor is interested in turning a skeptical eye on executive pay, it should start with the one-percenters in its own ranks. Dues payments from middle-class employees are funding six-figure pay packages for hundreds of union presidents,” Berman said.
The compensation bandwagon doesn’t end there.
If you take perks into account, Weingarten becomes the fifth-highest compensated union executive – perks that included $120,000 spent on limousine services by the AFT last year.
National Right to Work Committee spokesman Patrick Semmens points out a key difference between CEOs and union officers when it comes to compensation. Corporate executives are paid from business income while union leaders receive their plush pay packages from forced union dues.
“The real scandal here is that union bosses fund their often lavish salaries with dues and fees taken from workers who would be fired for refusing to pay,” Semmens said.
“Union officials should work for the rank-and-file workers, but with forced union dues employees instead end up working for the benefit of union officials.”