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Union Fat Cats

We recently mentioned the amazing growth of union staff salaries. Labor insiders are beginning to hop on the same bandwagon, highlighting the top echelon of the pay scale for scrutiny.

When Labor Notes took a look at data filed under the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA), they found that between the years of 2000 and 2008, the number of union staff earning more than $100,000 and those earning more than $150,000 a year both tripled!

Labor Notes bemoaned the payment of excessive salaries at the expense of funding organizing efforts at a time when union densities have been plummeting. According to their calculations, placing a salary cap of $150,000 on total compensation (many officers double their salaries or better with reimbursable expenses, car allowances, etc.) would provide $143 million per year for

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Good Work If You Can Find It

Private sector wages over the last 2 years have basically kept up with inflation, growing at 3.3%. The financial industry saw minimal growth, rising only 4.1% during that time. Where does one go to find a business sector that is growing? High tech, biotech, healthcare?

The answer leads to an industry that produces nothing of value to the GDP, and typically restricts the growth of the enterprises it is connected to: the Labor Union Industry. The wages for employees of labor unions skyrocketed and incredible 24.9%!

The other option would be the “enterprise” that labor unions are now so deeply embedded with: government employees.[2] It should surprise no one that the two enterprises that contribute nothing except more restrictive bureaucracy and regulation, and that takes their salaries out of the pockets of hard working Americans in the form of

Continue reading Good Work If You Can Find It…

More on union political spending

Here is a take very similar to my own on political spending by liberal organizations. It makes the case I’ve made here and here, that unions (this article refers mainly to “liberal 527 organizations” but the ones listed received huge contributions – tens of millions – from unions): 1. Spent the majority of their money on 527 organizations as opposed to PACs (and that corporations spent virtually all their money on PACs); 2. The amounts spent through these organizations put unions on a par with corporate political spending; 3. That labor’s voice, as compared to that of corporations, is much more powerful since corporate spending was split about evenly between the candidates; and 4. Notwithstanding its disproportionate “voice,” labor’s message is not resonating with american voters (or its own members – remember over 1/3 of them voted for Bush) because it just doesn’t connect.


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Super article on union officer pay

This article lists the pay for union officials in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, along with a good discussion of how much union officers should be paid. Given the current state of LM reporting, it is very possible that the article under-reports pay for leaders but one retiring AFSCME official received almost $600,000 in 2003. Nice work if you can get it.

More bad pension news

Is the PBGC heading the way of the Central States pension fund? Let’s hope not.

Your pension has left the station

Distressing NYT article on the extinction of the defined benefit pension plan (and the coming crisis at PBGC that insures these things). I’m glad to know that my taxes will get to bail out the PBGC, which is supposed to bail out these pension plans. I missed the part where somebody bails ME out. Another reason I support private accounts for social security (and defined contribution plans like 401(k) for retirement).

How long until the Big 3 got the way of steel and airlines?

This guy (God bless him – he’s 109) has been retired and receiving fully funded health insurance from GM for a decade longer than I’ve been alive. He’s one of over 240 GM retirees over 100! Couple of thoughts. First, why would GM agree to benefits for which it could not pay? Oh, right, they were basically a monopoly when they agreed to these benefits. I don’t blame the unions here, they did what they were supposed to do and got the best deal they could for their members. It was GM that had no spine – why take a strike when you can just raise your prices instead? Second, this is a microcosm of what is happening with Medicare and Social Security. Of course, GM can go bankrupt (like the steel companies and airlines – also former monopolies that are finally facing the music after years of ridiculously

Continue reading How long until the Big 3 got the way of steel and airlines?