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June 05, 2002

Union v. Boardroom Salaries

Bush's Labor Department made a nice splash publicizing the sometimes bloated salaries of union leaders around the nation, and the rightwing press is cackling, as with the New York Post's LABOR'S FAT CATS story. To their mock horror, they find that the head of the American Federation of Teachers makes six times what an average city teacher makes. (That those teachers pull down only $52,000 despite advanced degrees is actually the real scandal.)
...Now, I am no fan of high labor leader salaries, but it is incredibly rich hearing rightwing papers, who normally talk about the need to pay top managers top dollar, bemoaning paying decent salaries for leaders of organizations with more members than almost any Fortune 50 company.
...And the few hundred thousand paid to some of these union leaders is peanuts compared to the managers and company owners they often face across the bargaining table. Take the New York Post itself-- how much does billionaire Rubert Murdoch make compared to his employees? Since 1980, as the AFL-CIO PayWatch web site notes, CEO pay has increased a whopping 1,884 percent. Such execs regularly make 1000s of times the income of their average employees.
...And hey, while union democracy isn't always perfect, union members do have voting control over their union leaders salaries, something they don't have over the out-of-control CEO salaries.

Posted by Nathan at June 5, 2002 08:48 AM

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