$150,000 Club Study Shows Where to Cut the Fat

August 23, 2007: Teamster contracts and benefit funds are under attack—and our union’s power is on the decline. But salaries for top Teamster officials remain on the rise, draining dues that could be used to organize the nonunion competition and rebuild Teamster Power.

Those are the findings of a comprehensive analysis of Teamster financial documents and officer compensation by the Teamster Rank and File Education and Legal Defense Foundation (TRF).

Click here to view complete salary data for our union's top-paid officers.

In 2006, the Hoffa administration shattered its previous records in several categories including:

  • total pay going to the union’s highest paid officials;
  • number of officers making more than $150,000;
  • the number of multiple salaries paid by the International to officers already making at least one union salary.

The great majority of Teamster principal officers of locals make less than $100,000 a year. But there are numerous exceptions—and you’ll find all of them here. In addition to the $150,000 Club, we list every Teamster official who has a total salary over $100,000. No partisanship and no exceptions.

This year’s analysis reveals that more than $20 million in Teamster dues was paid last year to the highest paid Teamster officials, each of whom bags $150,000 or more a year.

In all, 96 Teamster officials now belong to this $150,000 Club—a 23 increase in the last year alone. Twenty-five officials now make more than $200,000 a year.

Twenty-two members of Hoffa’s General Executive Board are in the $150,000 Club—along with numerous Hoffa appointees.

Multiple Salaries

For the last 30 years, members and concerned officers have organized to reform our union’s financial priorities. Multiple salaries have been at the center of that struggle.

In 1990, when TDU printed the multiple salaries of several candidates for International office, they were quietly dropped from their slate and retired. In 1993, General President Ron Carey eliminated 65 multiple salaries in one day by abolishing the Area Conferences. By 1998, only 16 officials on the IBT payroll got a multiple salary.

Since taking office, Hoffa has reversed that trend. Last year, 179 officials on the International Union payroll received multiple Teamster salaries—a new record and a 1,018 percent increase during Hoffa’s tenure. Altogether, the International paid more than $8.5 million in multiple salaries.

Hoffa uses these multiple salaries to reward his political supporters—and to punish dissenters. Last year, Hoffa fired Larry Brennan—the Michigan Teamster who made Hoffa eligible to run for General President by giving him a no-show job—for showing insufficient loyalty during Hoffa’s reelection campaign.

Hoffa also fired Eastern Region Freight Director Dan Virtue in retaliation for running for Eastern Region Vice President. That retaliatory firing is now under review by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Cost of Hoffa’s Broken Promises

When Hoffa first ran for General President, he promised to “cut and cap” Teamster salaries at $150,000 a year, but when the Hoffa train left the station, the platform stayed behind. Reform delegates to the 2006 Teamster Convention tried to amend the constitution to include these reforms, but Hoffa directed his supporters to vote against his own campaign promise.

TRF’s financial analysis reveals that the cost of this broken promise was $3.75 million for 2006 alone.

Hoffa also promised to “eliminate expensive International Union perks,” including the IBT’s practice of paying the employee portion of social security taxes. This amounts to a 7.65 percent tax on Teamster members and hidden extra compensation for International officials. For the 178 International officials making $100,000 a year or more, this cost Teamsters nearly $1 million last year alone.

If Hoffa had kept his “cut and cap” promises, our union would have saved $20 million during his tenure in office.

Rank-and-File Pressure Can Change Priorities

For 28 years, TDU has published the facts to let members decide for themselves whether our union’s financial priorities are on the right track.

Armed with the facts, Teamsters have mobilized to cut the fat and direct our union’s resources to programs that build Teamster power.

When TDU first published the $100,000 Club, General President Jackie Presser’s salary was over $500,000. In today’s dollars, that would be over $1 million. Those days are past.

These financial savings are the direct result of rank-and-file pressure—but they’re not enough.

With corporations attacking our contracts and benefits, we need to keep the pressure to make sure our dues money is put to work defending working Teamsters—not subsidizing a corporate lifestyle for top Teamster officials.

Click here to complete salary data of our union's top-paid officers.

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