By Rick Manning — Taxpayers are footing the bill for thirty five union officials at the U.S. Department of Transportation, which spent $4.8 million dollars in union salaries in 2012, paying an average salary of $138,175 per year according to a report released by Americans for Limited Government today.
The National Air Traffic Controllers Association accounted for twenty one of the taxpayer funded employees with eight people making in excess of $170,000 a year.
Of the thirty five, only three make less than $100,000 a year, with the lone National Federation of Federal Employees representative registering the low annual union salary of $80,748.
Bill Wilson, president of Americans for Limited Government questioned why taxpayers are paying union salaries at all saying, “It is obscene that in one Department alone, taxpayers are being stuck with almost $5 million in public employee union salary costs, these unions collect member dues and should pay for their own employees.”
Labor unions have become increasingly dependent upon the public employee sector as their presence in the private sector has fallen to near record lows with fewer than 7 percent of non-government employees belonging to a union. While private sector union membership has collapsed, government union membership has grown so rapidly that more than 50 percent of AFL-CIO membership is now comprised of public employees.
This shift explains organized labor’s increased stridence against reasonable measures to rein in government spending, as they are one of the chief beneficiaries of larger government payrolls.
The scrutiny of taxpayer funding of labor union employees’ salaries comes on the heels of historic losses for Big Labor in the states of Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin in 2012. These losses in formerly heavily unionized rust belt states signal that organized labor will be even more dependent upon their federal public employee base for the dues money that fuels their political clout.
“Big Labor has been a primary financier for the far left advocates of expanded government, it is time for elected officials to cut off the gravy train of having the taxpayers pay for union salaries. It is simply wrong for American workers who have a median household income of just more than $50,000, to pay the freight for non-productive government workers who make more than two and a half times that amount,” Wilson concluded.
The report on Transportation Department union employee salaries was created using Department responses to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by Americans for Limited Government. The FOIA history can be found at www.algfoiafiles.com.
Rick Manning is the Director of Communications for Americans for Limited Government.