Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

Big Labor Spends Big Money—On Big Pleasure?

crime money steal embezzle 2Why spend money on collective bargaining when you can buy movie tickets and luxury handbags?

For Big Labor, it’s a valid question. Union bosses spent millions of dollars in member dues on activities completely unrelated to collective bargaining in 2015. The National Review reports:

On 2015 filings, six private-sector unions together reported that they had spent nearly $347,000 at Six Flags amusement parks. The expenditures covered member picnics, special events, and union administration, the unions reported.


On its 2015 tax filing alone, the National Education Association Headquarters spent more than $347,000 at Disney’s Buena Vista Palace and the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort for membership recruiting and organizing, member and staff education, and policy development.


[S]ince 2010, reports from dozens of unions show expenditures of more than $45 million spent at casinos in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and elsewhere.

A closer look is even more startling. One Pennsylvania union “dropped nearly $42,000 at the designer retailer Burberry” and “$20,000 on [Pittsburgh] Penguins tickets.” It even spent $5,600 on a single steak dinner.

And the New York Post recently found that teachers unions are especially complicit. The United Federation of Teachers (UFT), New York’s largest teachers union, single-handedly “shelled out $2.5 million for lodging and conventions,” including $1 million for its spring bash at the New York Hilton in Midtown. It also allotted $2.4 million for food and catering, $1.77 million of which went to Lackmann Culinary Services—a catering service guaranteeing “culinary excellence” for private clubs, corporate entities, and government agencies among others.

To make matters worse, Big Labor sent nearly $420 million to left-wing political advocacy groups from 2012 to 2014, many of which are closely aligned with the Democratic Party. (Meanwhile, roughly 40 percent of union households vote Republican.)

Yet this extravagant budget—entertainment and political—is funded by rank-and-file union members. And in many states, member dues contributions are mandatory, whereby funding union activities is a condition of employment.

Knowing their appetite for big spending, union bosses won’t be complaining about that any time soon.

Categories: Political MoneyTeachers UnionsUnion Spending