Union boss paid $154 an hour pushes for minimum wage hike


By Jason Hart | Watchdog.org

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka is pushing for a $10.10 federal minimum wage as a show of union support for low-income workers, but Trumka is paid 15 times that amount.

Based on AFL-CIO’s annual report to the U.S. Department of Labor, the union coalition paid Trumka a gross salary of $272,250 plus $49,881 in other disbursements during its 2014 fiscal year ending June 30. Trumka’s total pay of $322,131 was the equivalent of a $154.87 hourly wage.

“Working people will turn out for candidates who support solutions that will make a difference in the real world – from raising the minimum wage to ensuring that all workers can bargain collectively and make a livable wage,” Trumka said in an Oct. 8 statement.

Trumka’s own thoroughly livable wage is paid for with money taken from workers in AFL-CIO member unions. Many of those unions, including American Federation of Teachers and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, take dues and mandatory fees from taxpayer-funded public employees.

AFL-CIO didn’t respond to a Watchdog.org request for comment on Trumka’s compensation.

On Twitter, Trumka expressed his support for a federal minimum wage hike using a hashtag popularized by President Obama’s Organizing for Action.

We stand in strong support of the broad campaign to #RaiseTheWage leading up to & following 10/10, & its our responsibility to keep it going

— Richard L. Trumka (@RichardTrumka) October 8, 2014

AFL-CIO has attempted to build momentum for the president’s $10.10 minimum wage campaign in the days leading up to 10/10, portraying the current $7.25 minimum wage as too little to support a family when working 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year.

Min. wage workers are trying to squeeze by on only $15,080 a year: http://t.co/hoCSCcPqa7 it’s time for a raise #raisethewage

— AFL-CIO (@AFLCIO) October 2, 2014

In 2013, less than 5 percent of American workers and less than 3 percent of those over the age of 25 were paid minimum wage. Studies have shown minimum wage hikes reduce employment among young, unskilled workers.

Another theme of AFL-CIO’s minimum wage messaging has been “income inequality,” with AFL-CIO asserting in a recent ad, “all the income gains of the last 15 years went to the richest 10 percent of Americans.” According to the U.S. Census Bureau, this is a category that includes Richard Trumka, whose $272,250 gross salary alone put him well into the top 5 percent.

Trumka isn’t the only union boss to demand a higher minimum wage while taking more than 20 times the current $7.25 rate from American workers.

AFSCME describes a federal minimum wage hike as “a civil rights issue,” and AFSCME President Lee Saunders screamed for “solidarity” at a recent Ohio AFL-CIO convention. Saunders was paid $350,058, the equivalent of $168.30 per hour, during the union’s 2013 fiscal year.

AFT President Randi Weingarten recently celebrated expanded “living wage” mandates from far-left New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio, suggesting DeBlasio’s action was a model for the whole state.

Great news for all of NYC – @BilldeBlasio Executive Order Will Expand Living Wage Law to Thousands More http://t.co/N7HR7nvWAc

— Randi Weingarten (@rweingarten) September 30, 2014

Hope this sparks debate in Albany;elsewhere-NY needs to #raisethewage http://t.co/N7HR7nvWAc

— Randi Weingarten (@rweingarten) September 30, 2014

Weingarten was paid $557,875, the equivalent of $268.21 per hour, during the teachers union’s 2014 fiscal year.

Earlier this year, Trumka participated in a bus tour demanding a $10.10 minimum wage. AFL-CIO and Communist Party USA have hammered Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint’s disinterest in debating Trumka on the issue, and AFL-CIO has attacked minimum wage hike critics with “Koch Sisters” ads.

Not to be outdone, Service Employees International Union, whose 1.8 million public- and private-sector members are not affiliated with AFL-CIO, has called steeper government wage mandates “essential for advancing civil & human rights today.”

Raising the minimum wage remains essential for advancing civil & human rights today: http://t.co/btnKZhUU1d #RaiseTheWage

— SEIU (@SEIU) October 4, 2014

SEIU President Mary Kay Henry was paid $295,870 in 2013, or $142.25 per hour.