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December 31, 2022

Executive Compensation at the American Federation of Teachers (2021)

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), the AFT is based in Washington, DC and is an affiliate of the AFL-CIO.

For the year ending June 30, 2021, AFT reported total revenue of  $207 million (mostly from membership dues) and expenses of $196 million (with the unspent funds added to the general fund). The largest expense for the organization was compensation for the 349 employees who received $63 million, which equates to an average compensation of $181,000. However, only 225 employees (65%) received more than $100,000 in compensation. The 8 most highly compensated employees were reported to be:

  • $1,482,581:  Loretta Johnson, Former Secretary-Treasurer
  • $  543,562:  Randi Weingarten, President
  • $  348,887:  Evelyn DeJesus, EVP
  • $  335,196:  Jessica Smith, Chief of Staff
  • $  335,069:  Philip Kugler, Asst to President for organization
  • $  313,651:  Michael S Powell, Asst to President for communications 
  • $  304,925:  Michelle A Ringuette, Assistant to the President
  • $  296,492:  Ann Mitchell, Asst to President for Field Coordination

2 of the 8 (25%) most highly compensated employees are male while 6 of the 8 (75%) are female. Interestingly, the organization is overseen by 45 voting members of the governing body, 42 of whom are independent.  The Form 990 lists 47 voting members (due to timing differences), 26 (55%) of whom are male while 21 (45%) are female.

AFT paid for first class or charter travel. Specifically, AFT allows officers (there are 47 listed on the Form 990) and vice presidents to fly first class travel when the scheduled flight time is TWO hours or longer.

AFT paid for companion travel. Specifically, an officer or vice president could bring a family member and have the family member’s ticket paid for by AFT if the two tickets together were equal to or less than a first class ticket.

AFT paid a monthly housing allowance to AFT officers.

19 independent contractors received more than $100,000 in compensation.  Five independent contractors received more than $100,000 in compensation:

  • $1,429,695:  AL Media, of Washington, DC for advertising and promotion
  • $  745,705:  TEK Systems of Hanover, MD for IT management
  • $  669,000:  NP Consulting, of Washington, DC for public relations consultant
  • $  517,428:  Markham Group, of Washington, DC for event management
  • $  415,843:  Hustle, of Washington DC for software consultant

To read the IRS Form 990 (2020 for the year ending June 30, 2021), click here.

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