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December 18, 2021

How Revenue is Spent at the American Federation of Teachers (2020)

by Anne Paddock

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is the second largest teacher’s union (although membership is not limited to teachers) with 1.7 million members (after the National Education Association) in 3,000 local affiliates in the USA. A non-profit, tax-exempt 501 (c) (5), AFT is based in Washington, DC and is an affiliate of the AFL-CIO.

The most recent Form 990 (2019 for the year ending June 30, 2020) reports the following information about the AFT:

Total revenue was $206 million (about the same as the year prior) with most revenue coming from membership dues ($198 million) that start at about $70 annually for an associate membership  at the national level. However, there are various types of membership with most members joining a local, regional, or statewide affiliate of the AFT (membership requests are typically handled at the affiliate level).

Expenses were $195 million (excluding $1 million in depreciation) – 94% of revenue – categorized as follows:

  • $60 million (29% of revenue):  Compensation
  • $44 million (21% of revenue):  Assistance and Support to Affiliates
  • $33 million (16% of revenue):  Fees for Services (primarily other services and accounting)
  • $25 million (12% of revenue):  Contributions
  • $12 million (6% of revenue):  Office-Related Expenses
  • $10  million (5% of revenue):  Travel and Conferences*
  • $ 4 million (2% of revenue):  Post Retirement Expenses
  • $ 4 million (2% of revenue):  Advertising and Promotion
  • $ 3 million (1% of revenue):  Subscriptions and Other Expenses

* Includes first class travel. AFT paid for first class travel for officers and vice presidents when the scheduled flight time is two hours or longer.  Note:  AFT also paid for companion travel and pays AFT officers a monthly housing allowance.

As illustrated above, compensation is AFT’s largest expense. 365 employees received $60 million in compensation which equates to an average compensation of $164,400.  However, only 225 employees (62% of employees) received more than $100,000 in compensation.  The most highly compensated employee was the President, Randy Weingarten who was compensated $534,240.

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

$100:  Revenue

-$ 29:  Compensation

-$ 16:  Fees for Services

-$  6:  Office-Related Expenses

-$  5:  Travel and Conferences

-$  2:  Post Retirement Expenses

-$  2:  Advertising and Promotion

-$ 60:  Subtotal: Compensation, Office, T&C, and Other Expenses

 $  40:  Revenue Remaining

-$ 21:  Assistance and Support to Affiliates

-$ 12:  Contributions

-$  1:  Subscriptions and Other Expenses 

-$ 34: Subtotal:  Assistance, Support, Contributions, Subscriptions and Other Expenses

 $   6:  Revenue Remaining:  To General Fund

As illustrated above, AFT spent $60 out of every $100 in revenue on staff and organization expenses and $34 out of every $100 on expenses that are primarily focused outside the organization (i.e. assistance and support to affiliates, contributions, subscriptions and other expenses).

Because the organization did not spend as much ($195 million) as they collected ($206 million), they were able to increase the general fund to $51 million (from $47 million at the beginning of the year after deducting unrealized losses on investments).

The bottom line is that about 60% of membership dues support the organization (i.e. compensation, office, etc), 34% is used for “outside” services (i.e. payments to affiliates, contributions, fees, assistance, etc).

To read the IRS Form 990 (2019 for the year ending June 30, 2020), click here.

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