September 11, 2009: It’s a tough economy and many Teamster members are taking benefit cuts, pay freezes, or worse.
But last year our union’s highest-paid officials hiked their pay by more than a million dollars.
Many Teamster members are laid-off or taking pay cuts. But our union’s highest paid officials gave themselves average pay increases of nearly $10,000 a year.
Those are the findings of the $150,000 Club Report—a comprehensive analysis of Teamster financial documents and officer compensation by the Teamster Rank and File Education and Legal Defense Foundation (TRF).
Last year, 110 Teamster officials received a salary of $150,000 or more—the highest number ever. Thirty-five Teamster officials made more than $200,000.
President Hoffa received the most total compensation of any Teamster official: $383,132.
While pay for working Teamsters is flattening out, increases for our union’s highest-paid officials are fattening up. Consider these facts:
- Last year, the members of the $150,000 Club hiked their pay by a total of $1,041,276.
- Teamster officials in the $150,000 Club got an average pay increase of $10,000. That’s almost $5 an hour. Nineteen members of the Club got a raise of $20,000 or more.
- In his ten years in office, Hoffa has nearly doubled his annual compensation. He awarded himself a huge “housing allowance” to boost his salary above the level specified in the Teamster Constitution.
Equality of Sacrifice?
Teamsters in freight, carhaul, and other industries agreed to pay cuts to help keep their companies in business.
Teamster freight officials on the other hand took home some of the biggest raises last year.
Pat Flynn, the head of Chicago Local 710, got a raise of $10,170 last year, making the total of his three salaries $287,949. Flynn took home total compensation of $356,430.
Bill Hamilton, the head of Philadelphia freight Local 107, got the single biggest raise of any official: $64,037. Hamilton got that hike when Hoffa appointed him to be an International Vice President, so he gets four salaries.
In carhaul, it’s the same story: pay hikes at the top and concessions for working Teamsters. Carhaul Director Fred Zuckerman gave himself a raise, but has helped management push through concessions on a local-by-local basis—gutting Teamsters’ pay and undermining the national carhaul contract.
Ken Hall, head of the union’s Package Division, got a whopping $21,594 raise. That’s more than $10 an hour. UPS Teamsters got an increase last year too. Theirs was 35 cents.
Salaries Up, Power Down
Across the board, our union’s power is on the decline.
Teamster membership fell by over 20,000 by the end of 2008. By now the loss is closer to 100,000.
Fewer members means falling dues income, which means fewer union resources to spend to protect members’ benefits, mobilize for good contracts and organize the nonunion competition.
With working Teamsters facing so many challenges, we can’t afford to have our dues money squandered on excessive salaries. But in the Hoffa era, dues waste has exploded.
When Hoffa took office, only 16 officials received multiple salaries from the International Union.
Last year, the International Union paid out multiple salaries to 141 officials who each make more than $100,000 a year. Counting their salaries, allowances, and expense accounts, those officials made over $25 million in total compensation.
The great majority of Teamster officials and representatives make less than $100,000 a year.
And not all Teamster officials have raised their salaries. A few are even taking cuts themselves. For example, the officers of Colorado Local 17 agreed to a 10 percent wage cut, after their members at YRC took a similar cut.
Plenty of Teamster officers work hard and earn every penny they make.
Hoffa’s Broken Promises
When Hoffa first ran for Teamster General President, he promised to “cut and cap” officer salaries at $150,000. If he had kept his word, that promise would have saved our union $4.5 million last year alone. The total cost of Hoffa’s broken promise since he took office is now $30 million.
That’s money that could be used to organize new members and mobilize to protect members’ wages and benefits.
We Can Make a Difference
For 30 years, TRF has produced an annual report of Teamster official salaries.
TDU has published this salary and financial report every year, regardless of who is Teamster president. We publish the salary information of every officer in the Club—whether they be friend or foe.
This is the membership’s money. Members have a right to the facts.
TDU puts information in the members’ hands and brings Teamsters together to make positive changes in our union.