Who believes that organized labor is the foundation of the American middle class, one of our most powerful forces for economic security and upward mobility?
Upward mobility? Hmm. Well, I suppose one can say that about the organized labor bosses, many of whom, according to this article, have pay grades beyond those of the “middle class”:
Salaries for the 10 largest unions’ bosses range from $173,000 for the United Auto Workers’ Bob King to $618,000 for Terence O’Sullivan, the president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America. AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka makes about $283,000 per year. Gerald McEntee, the president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), makes $480,000. The AFSCME stands to lose the most from any of the governors’ budget victories, as it’s currently the nation’s powerhouse public sector union, with around 1.5 million members nationwide.
The article points out:
A new report from the left-leaning Center for Public Integrity (CPI) shows union bosses would stand to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal salaries and Democrats would lose millions of dollars in campaign donations if governors in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and other states win their budget battles. The new CPI report calls into question union bosses’ and Democratic lawmakers’ true motives in those states, showing that they’re possibly more concerned about losing revenue and personal salary than they are with collective bargaining rights for public sector workers.
So, not only do union bosses have a personal financial stake in the moves by states to lessen union power, but so do politicians. Lynn Woolsey is one of those politicians who has collected considerable contributions from union PACs in her career. Recall these two previous posts of mine: Lynn Woolsey and SEIU and More about unions supporting the Woolsey campaign…. The latter post noted that in 2009-2010 (up to that point of course), 13 of her Top 20 contributors (65%) were unions.
Now perhaps, Rep. Woolsey will retire in 2012 and the issue of who contributes to her political campaigns will not longer be of interest and concern. Nevertheless, when Rep. Woolsey claims herself a champion of the middle class, her ties to union leadership (for it is the bosses of organized labor that decide which politicians receive campaign assistance, not the rank and file) should give us pause. Who really is she “working” for? The men and women in the labor force who really are the solid middle class? Or the high-salaried bosses (some of whom don’t even work an hour for “public servant” salaries they collect — see *table below) who pass out the laborers’ dues to open-handed politicos?
* source of this table:
Big “Labor and politicians across the United States have transferred union costs to taxpayers. For example, SEIU Local 444 (The Sanitation Officers Association, see related snow slowdown stories) has six full-time union officials who are paid full-time city benefits and salary, yet work 0.00% of the time for New York City. These Sanitation Officers are working on everything but New York City business – including political activities and golf outings – all on the taxpayers’ dime.”