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September 17, 2020

How Revenue is Spent 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 men and women. A non-profit, tax-exempt 501 (c) (5) – a member 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.

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 (84% of total revenue) 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 $100 million in expenses can be classified as follows:

  • $ 48 million (40% of revenue):  Compensation
  • $ 18 million (15% of revenue):  Grants
  • $ 13 million (11% of revenue):  Royalties, State Unity Funds
  • $  7 million (6% of revenue):  Office-Related Expenses
  • $  6 million (5% of revenue):  Travel and Conferences
  • $  4 million (3% of revenue):  Fees for Services (primarily “other”)
  • $  4 million (3% of revenue):  Other Expenses (i.e. advertising and promotion, interest, etc)

Using the above information, every $100 in revenue was spent as follows:

$100:  Revenue

-$ 40:  Compensation

-$ 15:  Grants

-$ 11:  Royalties, State Unity Funds

-$  6:  Office-Related Expenses

-$  5:  Travel and Conferences

-$  4:  Fees for Services

-$  3:  Other Expenses

-$ 84:  Total Expenses

 $ 16:  Excess Revenue over Expenses:  To General Fund

As illustrated above, the AFL-CIO spent $69 out out of every $100 in revenue on organization expenses that include compensation, royalties, office, travel and conferences, fees for services, and other expenses.  The largest expense was compensation for which $40 out of every $100 was spent.  In terms of employees and total dollars, 448 employees received $48 million in compensation which equates to an average compensation of $107,000.  However, only 145 employees received more that $100,000. The most highly compensated employee was Sean McGarvey, who received $544,786 (from an affiliated organization).

$15 out of every $100 was spent on grants – primarily to domestic organizations. 109 grants greater than $5,000 were made, of which 19 were to 501 (c) (3)’s and 90 to other organizations. The recipients of the 10 largest grants were reported to be:

  • $6,657,000:  Working America, of Washington, DC for operating subsidy and office space
  • $  978,750:  National Labor College, of Silver Spring, MD for operating subsidy
  • $  617,000:  Alliance for Retired Americans, of Washington, DC for operating subsidy and office space
  • $  300,000:  American Center for Int’l Labor Solidarity, of Washington, DC for operational subsidy/office space
  • $  219,000:  Florida AFL-CIO, of Tallahassee, FL for solidarity funding grant
  • $  214,109:  Dallas AFL-CIO, of Dallas, TX for solidarity funding grant/Culture of Health grant
  • $  200,000:  Salidago Foundation, of Northhampton, MA for Lift Fund grant
  • $  200,000:  Missouri AFL-CIO, of Jefferson City, MO for solidarity funding grant and program support
  • $  150,000:  Ohio AFL-CIO, of Columbus, OH for solidarity funding grant
  • $  150,000:  Oregon AFL-CIO, of Portland, OR for solidarity funding grant

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

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