Number of Illinois union bosses earning six-figure salaries continues to grow

Paul Kersey

Labor law expert, occasional smart-aleck, defender of the free society.

Paul Kersey
/ Labor
October 16, 2013

Number of Illinois union bosses earning six-figure salaries continues to grow

In Big Labor mythology, union leaders are gritty, idealistic working class people standing up to the arrogant and wealthy. In reality, running a union is big business, and a union gig can mean making a pretty good living. Illinois teachers unions can be particularly generous with compensation. In “The Labor Book,” we looked at government...

In Big Labor mythology, union leaders are gritty, idealistic working class people standing up to the arrogant and wealthy. In reality, running a union is big business, and a union gig can mean making a pretty good living. Illinois teachers unions can be particularly generous with compensation.

In “The Labor Book,” we looked at government union officials and employees who earned more than $100,000 in 2011, and found that all of the major unions (the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; Service Employees International Union; Illinois Education Association; and the Illinois Federation of Teachers) had staff earning six-figure salaries. But IFT and IEA were head and shoulders above in terms of compensation. IFT listed 37 with six-figure incomes, while IEA had 90.

While many Illinoisans struggle with high unemployment and stagnant wages, the good times are only getting better for teachers union staff. According to newly released financial reports, IFT is up to 40 staff earning more than six figures, while the IEA has an even 100 employees earning more than $100,000 (names and job titles are listed below).

So while nearly 3,000 teachers and support staff at the Chicago Public Schools were laid off – at least partly due to the unions’ “victory” in the 2012 teacher strike – well-paid staff at IFT continue to get raises. And while there were 5,000 fewer public schoolteachers employed in Illinois in 2012 than there were in 2009, a growing number of IEA staff are enjoying a comfortable lifestyle.

A lot of teachers union employees are being rewarded in spite of the fact that they are doing a lousy job of protecting teachers’ jobs. Union officials shouldn’t be profiting when the people they represent are struggling. Illinois needs labor law reforms, such as Right to Work, so union officials are more accountable to the men and women they represent.

IEA staff with compensation more than $100,000 (2012-2013 school year)

 

IFT staff with compensation more than $100,000 (2012)

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