November 21, 2012
Teamster Money Should Build Teamster Power
In a tough economy, many Teamsters are taking concessions. But top Teamster officials are riding high.
In the worst recession of our lives, many Teamsters are being hit with concessions, pension cuts and layoffs.
Our union has been hit hard, too. The Teamsters have lost 100,000 members in just three years according to union reports filed with the Department of Labor.
But one group of Teamsters has not felt any belt-tightening at all: James Hoffa, International officials and their appointees.
Thirty-six Teamster officials made over $200,000 in salary last year, and 135 made over $150,000–more than any other time in Teamster history.
These figures are part of the $150,000 Club Report, a comprehensive study of Teamster finances by the Teamster Rank and File Education and Legal Defense Foundation (TRF).
The report provides nonpartisan information to Teamster members about where our dues money is going.
Key findings in this year’s report include:
- The highest paid Teamster is Patrick Flynn of Chicago Local 710. He resigned as an International vice president, because the IBT constitution prohibits a VP from having a higher aggregate salary than the General President. Flynn pulled down $465,002 in salary from his local union.
- Hoffa paid himself $372,489 in 2011, including a lucrative "housing allowance." When Hoffa first ran for Teamster president, he promised to "cut n cap" salaries at $150,000.
- 129 officials on the International payroll made multiple union salaries–some taking home three Teamster salaries, one each from the International, a Joint Council and a Union.
In 2002 the Hoffa administration called a special convention to raise dues to 2.5 hours pay. The dues hike was supposedly for two purposes: to establish a strong strike fund and to fund organizing.
Hoffa's slogan in promoting the dues hike was "A nickel an hour for Teamster power." But few members are feeling the power.
Take organizing. While nonunion competition is on the rise, the Hoffa administration has actually shrunk the organizing department.
Today, there are just 40 full-time IBT organizers and about 40 project organizers, for a total of 80. A few years ago, that number was 140.
If everyone in the $150,000 club took a 10% cut, and that money was put into organizing, it would boost the organizing budget by $2.5 million per year, putting dozens of more organizers in the field.
The Bottom Line
Many Teamster officials work hard and they deserve to be compensated for their long hours. But when top officers are telling members to accept concessions because of the economy, those same officers should lead by example.
Teamster resources should go first and foremost to building Teamster power.
Do you agree? If so, contact Teamsters for a Democratic Union, the movement of Teamsters working to make it all happen.
Click here to download a history of TDU's $150,000 Club report.
Click here to get your Local's financial report.
"Starting pay for UPS part-timers is just $8.50 an hour and hasn’t gone up in 15 years. With contract negotiations going on right now, we need to make them remember the 250,000 UPSers who pay their salaries, including 125,000 part-timers. Show us the money!"
Dave Fischer, UPS
Local 413, Columbus, Ohio
"Freight Teamsters like me took a 15 percent wage cut and saw our pensions cut. Times are lean. It's time to cut the fat at the International Union and put our money into organizing the nonunion competition and rebuilding our power in trucking before it's too late."
Tim Pagel, YRC
Local 988, Houston