Union Members: Let the Sun Shine In

By January 5, 2006Labor Unions

A great editorial in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal entitled, “Teachers’ Pets“, about the profligate squandering of members’ money by the gargantuan National Education Association (NEA). By the Journal’s reckoning, the NEA burned in excess of $65 million of their members’ dues (average teacher’s salary is $48,000, in case you were wondering) on far-left causes — many (if not most) of which are not in synch with their members’ views. The NEA report also reveals that over half of their 600 employees make six-figure salaries. Says the Journal, “It seems you’re better off working as a union rep than in the classroom.” Well said.

All of this came about because of a courageous — and long-overdue — step taken in 2003 by Labor Secretary Elaine Chao. See, over at the Department of Labor, any union organizer can search the OSHA website for a full accounting of every OSHA citation ever issued to any employer. In fact, in the Clinton Administration, OSHA went one better in customer-friendliness to make it easier for a worker to file an OSHA complaint against their employer. Just being helpful. So how are things over on the union reporting side of the house? Well, sorry, but they were stuck back in the 19th century, just not available on line. Just couldn’t scrape the dollars together at budget time.

So Secretary Chao decided to bring the union reporting side of the house into the 20th century and require unions to file more detailed reports — called LM-2’s — and to make them available — gulp! — to the public. God help us all. Until Chao’s initiative, unions could file pretty vague and summary reports, listing millions of dollars under “miscellaneous expenditures”. No more. She required a more detailed accounting, a plan that the AFL-CIO fought with all its legal might, to no avail. The irony, of course, (as we pointed out way back in April) was that the AFL-CIO was fighting all of this in the midst of the so-called Enron and WorldCom scandals, when they were hoarse from crying about the need for disclosure and transparency. Apparently they only meant the other guy.

Now, all the legal challenges over, the site is live and the first reports are coming in. You can bet that every God-fearing union chief is praying that none of their members find it, lest they start to see for themselves how their money is being wasted on fat salaries and far-left causes. The site is found by clicking on this link, to search particular unions, and follow the money.

Pass it on.