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September 15, 2020

Executive Compensation at the AFL-CIO

by Anne Paddock

The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) is a federation of 55 labor unions that represent nearly 13 million workers. A non-profit, tax-exempt 501 (c) (5) – a labor organization, the AFL-CIO is headquartered in Washington, DC.

Key facts about the AFL-CIO include the following information taken from the IRS Form 990’s:

The AFL-CIO has 14 related tax-exempt, non-profit organizations, 9 of whom operate out of the same office address. The other 5 organizations also operate out of a DC-based office but at a different street address.

Revenue has been declining over the past 5 years. In 2013, total revenue was $158 million. By 2017, revenue was down to $140 million and by 2018, total revenue was $119 million which appears to indicate membership has been declining but could also be due to a decline in royalties, or a combination of both.

Revenue primarily comes from two sources:  memberships dues and royalties. In 2018, $72 million of the $119 million (61%) came from memberships dues while $38 million (32% of total revenue) came from royalties.

Expenses totaled $100 million in 2018 – $19 million less than the revenue raised. The $19 million was added to the general fund which increased from $14 million at the beginning of the year to $34 million at year-end – a significant increase.

The AFL-CIO has 5 primary expenses:  compensation, grants, office-related expenses, royalties, and travel and conferences.

In 2018, compensation used up nearly half the revenue. 448 employees received $48 million in compensation, which equates to an average compensation of $107,000. However, only 145 employees received more than $100,000 in compensation. The 15 most highly compensated employees were reported to be:

  • $544,786:  Sean McGarvey, VP (compensation from an affiliated organization)
  • $389,957:  Richard Trumka, President
  • $331,682:  Tefere Gebre, EVP
  • $330,732:  Larry Willis, General Board Member (compensation from an affiliated organization)
  • $323,216:  Elizabeth Shuler, Secretary-Treasurer
  • $260,255:  Terry Stapleton, Assistant to the President
  • $257,777:  Jonathan Hiatt, Chief of Staff, Executive Asst to President
  • $257,080:  Craig Becker, General Counsel
  • $256,280:  Paul Almeida, General Board Member (compensation from an affiliated organization)
  • $254,749:  Paul Lemmon, Chief of Staff, Executive Asst to President
  • $250,364:  Damon Silvers, Special Counsel to President
  • $242,063:  Michael Cavanaugh, Executive Assistant to Vice President
  • $241,634:  Lynn Rhinehart, General Counsel
  • $195,438:  Richard Kline, General Board Member (compensation from an affiliated organization)
  • $192,093:  James Hart, General Board Member (compensation from an affiliated organization)

13 of the 15 most highly compensated employees listed above are male while 2 of the 15 are female. Given that the AFL-CIO promotes how much they care about gender equality on the front page of their website, how is it that 87% of the most highly compensated employees are male while 13% are female?

In addition, it is important to point out Labor Pains (www.laborpains.org) reported on December 1, 2017 (half way through the 2017-2018 year) that Terry Stapleton (listed above) recently resigned (November 6, 2017) after being accused of sending lewd text messages to his secretary and suggested he could protect her job if she had a sexual relationship with him.

The Form 990 does not report that Terry Stapleton is a former employee even though he allegedly resigned on November 6, 2017 and the Form 990 (2017) covers the period July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018.

The AFL-CIO paid for first class or charter travel, companion travel, and provided gross up payments and tax indemnification. No other detail was provided.

Union Labor Life Insurance – a company that provides insurance coverage and investment services to the AFL-CIO and that has 9 officers on both the Board of Directors at Union Labor Life Insurance and are officers of the AFL-CIO – was compensated $26,699.

23 independent contractors received more than $100,000 from the AFL-CIO. The five most highly compensated were reported to be:

  • $1,007,590:  Convention Services Unlimited, Inc. of Cheverly, MD for event planning services
  • $  659,492:  Xerox Corporation of Philadelphia, PA for equipment leasing
  • $  635,050:  Catalist, LLC of Washington, DC for data related services
  • $  616,300:  NGP Van, Inc of Pittsburgh, PA for software licensing
  • $  533,270:  Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research Inc of Washington, DC for polling services

To read the IRS Form 990 (2017 for the year ending June 30, 2018), click here.

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