December 16, 2011: Teamsters for a Democratic Union believes members have a right to know where our dues money goes.
Each year we undertake a major research project, analyze hundreds of financial reports, and make the information available to all members.
Teamsters have been hit hard by the continued recession and corporate attacks. Pensions cut. Layoffs. Wage freezes and cuts. Union busting.
These attacks have hit our union’s finances too. Most locals have lost income.
The International Union, which gets 22 percent of most members’ dues, has been hit because wage concessions have reduced dues and the union has lost membership.
The International’s total dues income from members has barely increased at all in recent years: from $159 million in 2007 to $160 million in 2010.
A large component of dues expenditure goes to officer salaries. Our study of union finances shows:
- 123 Teamster officials made over $150,000 in salary in 2010; 35 made over $200,000. The total paid to that group went up $259,636 over the previous year.
- 129 Teamster officials got paid a multiple salary by the International Union, most of them appointees of James Hoffa.
- For the first time since he took office, James Hoffa did not get a salary increase. This is because his salary goes up by a percentage equal to the rate of inflation, and inflation did not rise.
Hoffa did take a $6,000 hike in his total compensation: Hoffa is paid a very lucrative “housing allowance” on top of his salary.
The Past and the Present
Over the years TDU’s publication of the Club and the reform movement’s efforts to put union resources to work for members have had a very positive effect on union priorities.
Before we won the Right to Vote, top officers took salaries up to $500,000.
But we still have a long way to go.
When Hoffa first ran for office, he promised to “cut and cap” salaries at $150,000 and limit perks, but he has not lived up to that promise.
Instead, he greatly increased the number of multiple salaries, and invented new perks, including for himself.
If every official making over $150,000 took a 10 percent cut, that would free up over $2.3 million, enough to put dozens more organizers in the field.
Cracking Down on Dues Waste
Our International Union should have zero tolerance for dues waste. But in the past year we have seen the Hoffa administration tolerate and even cover up embezzlement of members’ money by key Hoffa supporters.
In L.A., Paul Kenny had a total compensation of $200,498 in 2010. It wasn’t enough for his lifestyle. Over a four-year period, he siphoned $154,929 of union funds for top-shelf liquor and meals.
Kenny went to expensive watering holes on 63 percent of all business days, according to a detailed report issued last May by the Independent Review Board (IRB). Hoffa had a report way back in February 2009 from his own International Auditor detailing this embezzlement, but took no action to stop it.
In Boston, Hoffa’s Trade Show Director John Perry was busted by the IRB for embezzlement, hiring a felon to control hiring, and suppressing members’ rights.
Hoffa knew about all these violations, because courageous members reported them to him in writing. Hoffa could have acted on the charges reported in detail by Teamster Voice.
Instead Hoffa covered it up, told members he could not protect them, and spent more than $100,000 paying Perry an extra salary during the period that the scandal was public.
The Right to Know
Many Teamster officers work hard for members. They know that members expect officers to use union funds to advance the union, not to benefit a few at the top.
TDU believes that officers and members have a right to know the facts. Some officials say giving members the facts helps employers, who can use information about salaries or corrupt officers like Paul Kenny or John Perry against the union.
The truth is employers have plenty of resources to look it up on their own. The information is public.
It is only members who are kept in the dark when the union hides information, whether about contracts, members’ rights, grievance precedents, or union finances.
Informed members can root out dues waste and corruption where it exists and make sure our dues money is spent building Teamster Power.
Download TDU’s Annual Teamster Salary Report. This longer report includes all officials who made over $120,000 in salary.
Paul Kenny Double-Dips
Apparently Kenny’s $200,498 compensation wasn’t enough. He siphoned off $154,929 over four year for meals and top-shelf liquor. Hoffa knew since 2009 but failed to act.
Coli and Sons Gross Over Half a Million
John Coli added his sons John Jr. (left) and Joseph (right) to the Local 727 payroll. Their combined total compensation last year: $586,690. In 2010, Coli Senior was the fourth-highest paid Teamster official.
John Perry’s Multiple Salaries
Perry was busted by the IRB for embezzlement, hiring felon JoJo Burhoe to control hiring, and suppressing members’ rights.
Hoffa knew about the violations—and spent more than $100,000 paying Perry an extra salary while the scandal was public.
About This Information
The Teamster Rank & File Education and Legal Defense Foundation (TRF) analyzed hundreds of LM-2 financial reports and IRS 990 tax forms for 2010, which have been filed by locals, joint councils, conferences, and the IBT. The information is factual and nonpartisan, and as thorough as possible.
Want the Financial Report on Your Local?
If you would like the 2010 LM-2 financial report on your local union, contact TDU at info [at] tdu.org or 313-842-2600, and we will email it to you.
The Department of Labor has financial reports available here.