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February 8, 2023

Executive Compensation at the AFL-CIO (2020)

by Anne Paddock

The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) is a federation of 58 labor unions that represent 12.5 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 19 related tax-exempt, non-profit organizations, 14 of whom operate out of the same office address. The other 5 organizations also operate out of a two DC-based offices but at a different street address, and an office in Silver Spring, MD.

There are 98 voting members (board members) of the governing body, 89 of whom are independent.  78 of the 97 (80%) are male while 20  (20%) are female.

Revenue has been declining since 2013 when 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. However, more recently in 2019, revenue increased to $126 million but then decreased to $114 million min 2020.

Revenue primarily comes from two sources:  memberships dues and royalties. In 2020, $71 million of the $114 million (62%) came from memberships dues while $34 million (30% of total revenue) came from royalties.

Expenses totaled $93 million in 2020 – $21 million less than the revenue raised. The $21 million was added to the general fund (along with unrealized gains on assets) which increased from $46 million at the beginning of the year to $69 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 2020, compensation used up 40% of revenue. 428 employees received $46 million in compensation, which equates to an average compensation of $107,000. However, only 142 employees received more than $100,000 in compensation. The 15 most highly compensated employees were reported to be:

  • $688,554:  Sean McGarvey, VP*
  • $376,423:  Richard Trumka, President
  • $337,548:  Tefere Gebre, EVP
  • $329,384:  Elizabeth Shuler, Secretary-Treasurer
  • $310,140:  Larry Willis, General Board Member*
  • $270,976:  Paul Lemmon, Chief of Staff, Executive Asst to President
  • $268,412:  Craig Becker, General Counsel
  • $265,408:  James Hart, General Board Member*
  • $259,188:  Chris Neff, Asst to the President
  • $258,663:  Damon Silvers, Special Counsel to President
  • $247,616:  Jennifer Dorning, General Board Member*
  • $247,444:  Katie Corrigan, Special Asst/Innov and Future Workers
  • $245,527:  Richard Barchiesi, Executive Asst to EVP
  • $210,761:  Richard Kline, General Board Member*
  • $176,595:  Matthew Morrison, General Board Member*

“*” indicates compensation came from a related organizaiton

11 of the 15 (73%) most highly compensated employees listed above are male while 4 of the 15 (27%) 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 73% of the most highly compensated employees are male while 27% are female?

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 $40,216.

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

  • $621,253  :  Catalist, LLC of Washington, DC for data related services
  • $287,650:  Deliver Strategies, of Arlington, VA for printing
  • $192,000:  Jeani Murray, of Wash, DC for consulting (state unity)
  • $185,050:  Local Politechs Strategies, of Wash, DC for consulting (state unity)
  • $148,881:  Calibre CPA Group, of Bethesda, MD for auditing

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

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