Monday, May 16, 2011


"I may have many faults, but being wrong ain't one of them."
-Jimmy Hoffa

It seems like people are starting to finally find out more about how union bosses spend all those dues. The fact that union leadership is corrupt, more interested in their personal finances, and focused more on helping political allies than their membership has been long understood by many on the right, but it is only now seeming to finally sink in to union members.

Recently the Communications Workers of America underwent a long investigation which included help from union membership into how the bosses were spending their money. They found a lot of misuse of the type mentioned above. Here are just a few of the accusations:
  • Creating an unauthorized retirement account with member dues
  • Establishing a weekly $225 no-receipts-required expense allowance for each officer and board member
  • Expensing meal tabs averaging $225 a person at an Atlantic City meeting and $600-a-night hotel charges in Las Vegas
  • Spending up to $37,000 a year in car service bills while also charging for their own cars
  • Taking retirement benefits for more than one job at a time
And, of course, these expenses were only nominally to what they were ascribed. Its one thing to do that with business money, its another to do it with dues forced from every member allegedly to help pay for the betterment of the membership. Both are bad, but the union guys were doing it to their own people, at their expense.

According to Brian Kates at the New York Daily News, at least two of the union whistleblowers have been harassed and even beaten to make them shut up and to pay for their "squealing."
One member of Communications Workers of America Local 1101 said that after he reported a time-sheet padding scheme, a thug beat him so badly his spine was injured.

Another says he found a dead rat in his locker, while a third said a union officer warned that suspected informants should be brought off company property and "taken care of."
This is hardly the only such union, and what's not reported on here is now much of the union's budget was spent on boosting Democratic party politicians.

This doesn't stop at private sector unions, either. The public sector has even more money and political influence, and the people at the top work little while being paid very well at the expense of their membership. The very structure of a union is designed to make the leadership unaccountable and beyond reproach while given great freedom and huge funds. The people who end up as leaders are people who tend to be more interested in the political cause than the fate of their membership as well.

To a real political zealot, money donated to get Democrats in power does help their membership because they believe Republicans want to destroy unions and only like big business. To them, the Bush administration funding and pushing for the Labor Department to investigate misuse of union funds and intimidation of workers is anti-union, not pro-worker. So they justify their spending millions every year to elect Democrats as proper union activity, no matter what their rank and file say or protest about the expense.

Like all activist organizations, once they reached their goal of ending abuse of workers and gaining fair pay, unions had the structure, money and power in place and did not want to give it up. So they found new grievances, no reasons to exist, and new places to exert their power. There may come a time again in the future when the pendulum swings again to abuse of workers and too much favor to bosses, but right now its the opposite, and both directions hurt America and its economy.

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