Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

Out-of-Control Union Spending: Super Bowl Edition

In honor of the upcoming Super Bowl, it’s time to round up the amount of money labor unions have spent on sporting events.

Several unions are guilty of using members’ dues money to buy tickets to professional sporting events or purchase advertising at arenas. According to Department of Labor filings, in 2018 Plumbers AFL-CIO spent $376,605 on advertisements at the Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. That same year, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 spent almost $20,000 on season tickets to the Denver Broncos. In 2017, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98 spent $66,500 on tickets to sporting events, including the Philadelphia Sixers.   

But when it comes to egregious spending, the UAW may be one of the worst offenders. (And it’s not just sporting events, the recent federal investigation into the UAW has unearthed union spending on everything from personalized bottles of wine to stays at luxury resorts.)

Between 2013-2018, the UAW spent $1,057,926 on “entertainment,” which includes professional sporting events as well as trips to casinos and bars. The national union spent $30,000 between 2016-2017 on minor league baseball teams, including the Oklahoma City Dodgers and the Nashville Sounds. It spent another $15,000 between 2016-2018 on “Auto Racing Team” Casey Johnson Racing.

Some other spending highlights from UAW locals in 2018 include:

  • Local 281 spent $5,331 on the Chicago Blackhawks;
  • Local 600 spent $15,200 on the Detroit Tigers;
  • Local 602 spent $5,125 on the Detroit Lions; 
  • Local 249 spent $5,997 on the Kansas City Royals; 
  • Local 2250 spent $18,000 on the St. Louis Cardinals.

This spending information, as well as a comprehensive look at everything the UAW and its locals have used members’ dues for, is available on