Union Boss Trumka Takes Home 8 Times as Much as Average Worker

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka is the voice of the common man.  He represents the little guy against the big ugly machine that is Big Business.  He is the face of the modern American labor union.  And he’s lining his pockets every step along the way…

FREE BACON:  In an email announcing the new AFL-CIO Executive PayWatch website, the leader of the nation’s largest union organization encourages members to fight excessive executive salaries. But in doing so, he risks training fire on his own impressive pay package.

In a recent email to union “e-Activists,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka encourages union members to visit the site, calling it “your one-stop shop for the most recent information on out-of-control CEO pay and what you can do to stop it.”

Trying to stir union members into protesting the disparity between the wages of CEO’s and the worker’s they manage, Trumka’s email said, “Runaway CEO pay isn’t just bad for our economy, it’s bad for the morale of working families, too. All workers, from the executive suite down to the shop floor, contribute to making a company successful. But these corporations are buying into the myth that the success of a corporation is the result of its CEO alone.”

As President of the union, Trumka makes over eight times as much as the average American worker.

According to the Center for Union Facts, Trumka brought home a gross salary of $264,827 in 2010, plus another $18,513 in additional compensation, to represent his union. The union leader has earned well over $200,000 every year since he was promoted to Secretary Treasurer in 2003.

In 2011, Trumka earned $293,750.

According to the recent email from Trumka’s desk, the average American worker makes about $34,000 a year.

Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t begrudge Trumpka for his earning a living.  I just laugh at the hypocrisy of people like him ranting and raving about CEO salaries and corporate profits.  I’m sure he “earns” every penny of his salary and bonuses.  He represents the union well.  I’m just not sure that union represents its members any longer.

Linked at Lonely Conservative – thanks!

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  8 comments for “Union Boss Trumka Takes Home 8 Times as Much as Average Worker

  1. mike
    April 24, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Nice try at redirecting our anger, but it won’t work. The average corporate CEO for fortune 500 companies makes 380 times what their average worker makes; that’s a fact! Trumka’s “eight times the average worker’s salary” isn’t looking so bad now, is it? Trumka has done nothing but stand up for honest, hard working americans his entire life. His salary is well-deserved and we should be thankful to have a man like him standing up for the 99%!

    • April 25, 2012 at 12:58 am

      “Redirecting your anger?” I don’t even know who “you” are; but thanks for quoting an AFL-CIO press release on the 380 times figure. http://www.aflcio.org/Corporate-Watch/CEO-Pay-and-the-99

      As to this line…. “Trumka’s “eight times the average worker’s salary” isn’t looking so bad now, is it?” – Did you reading the frigging post? If so, did you miss this?

      “Don’t get me wrong. I don’t begrudge Trumpka for his earning a living. I just laugh at the hypocrisy of people like him ranting and raving about CEO salaries and corporate profits. I’m sure he “earns” every penny of his salary and bonuses. He represents the union well. I’m just not sure that union represents its members any longer.”

      Come back when you have an original thought or a minute to spend reading that which you spend time criticizing.

  2. April 25, 2012 at 7:08 am

    If this specious argument of hypocrisy is addressing a politically blind and ignorant audience that relies solely on Mike Savage and Sean Hannity for their news sources, it might have an iota of merit, in their minds.
    What Free Bacon and Mr Williams are hiding from is the fact that CEOs were paid an average of $12.9 million just last year, 380 times more than the average American worker.
    It’s understood that corporate execs are going to be compensated at a much higher level than production workers and like Mr Williams, I don’t begrudge them for receiving a higher pay. However, an 8 to 1 ratio for Trumka (which is actually stretching the numbers) is absolutely no comparison to 380 to 1 or a salary of near $300K vrs near $13 million.
    Trumka said recently; “All employees create value. CEO pay levels should be more in line with the rest of the company’s employee pay structure,” It appears if anything, Trumka’s salary is consistent with that thought process.

    • April 25, 2012 at 8:17 am

      I sincerely appreciate the comment RJ and thank you for your time. I simply fail to agree with the thought process that leads to your conclusion. If there’s a problem with my casual sharing of this “news”; it’s that I failed to adequately elaborate on the fact that the glaring difference between Trumka and the average CEO is that the labor boss represents a group of his “peers” whereas a CEO is trusted with generating profits for shareholders.

      As I said in the post, I don’t begrudge anyone for making a living. And as I said in the post, I’m fairly certain Trumka more than earns his salary. That said, I do see a certain level of hypocrisy in a man talking about pay scales impacting morale when he makes exponentially more than the “average worker” regardless of whether it’s 8 times or 800 times more.

      The rush to say CEO’s make 380 times more does nothing for me. That’s like saying this thing is wrong; but this thing is really really wrong; so the other’s okay.

      • April 25, 2012 at 9:35 am

        While I appreciate and respect your civil dialog, I’m not sure what your argument exactly is.
        It should be a given that a pay scale is contingent on the skills or expertise of the one providing the service. In an industrial setting for example, a production worker would likely be paid less than an electrician who would likely make less than the supervisor who would make less than the engineer that makes less than the plant manager who makes less than the CEO. Same way with a desk clerk, beat patrol cop, sergeant, chief of police, and on up the ladder. This is just common knowledge. When the pay ratio becomes way out of proportion for the services provided, it can influence morale. So I really can’t see how Trumka’s low salary, which from the admission from your post says he hasn’t received a significant raise in 10 years (while the average workers wages have waned or stagnated) plays a roll on members morale.
        People are not so naive that they think they could fill Trumka’s position with a qualified person for $35K a year and it’s unrealistic to think you can raise the average workers pay to $300K. It’s within the realm of rational thinking to deduce that the President of the AFL-CIO is going to be paid more than a janitor and it’s also fair to say that $300K is a realistic if not a low figure.
        Trumka’s low salary really isn’t an argument in the debate over corporate or worker’s pay but rather a distraction of it.

        • April 25, 2012 at 11:48 am

          I’m glad you came back RJ, but I still don’t think we’re anywhere close to the same page on this. I know you see Trumka’s salary reference as a distraction, so we’ll stay there for a moment. If distraction is the topic of discussion, that 12 million dollar figure the AFL-CIO loves to reference is the epitome of a distraction. Base pay for most, if not all of these CEO’s, is a fraction of the total figure often cited. The rest – and the part that raises the figure to the 12 million range in some instances – very often comes from performance based stock incentive programs. Essentially, if the company goes in the wrong direction, the CEO’s benefit package does as well.

          Look at a stock that is having a more than promising week/quarter – Apple(AAPL). For years, the annual compensation to Steve Jobs was $1. Yet he died worth billions…and Apple just reported that they currently have more than 110 billion in cash on hand. I’m pretty sure someone was doing a good job and his stock incentives were more than earned. I don’t think company morale over there is a concern.

          Obviously, Jobs and Apple are not necessarily the standard company and CEO. That much is not lost on me. But not every CEO and company out there is operating under a pay-our-CEO-12million-for-shits-and-giggles either. Frankly, most shareholder agreements and corporate charters expressly prohibit compensation climbing that high. If there’s a CEO that makes 12 million per as a base salary, he/she is not known to me. Even the face of CEO / Wall Street greed – Goldman Sachs and Llyod Blankfein – pulled in 2 million base and the rest of his “12 million” came from stock incentives and a performance cash bonus.

          We can roll through the other 498, but I think that may get ridiculous if we’re not already there. My point is 2 million base in multi-billion dollar companies is reasonable from where I sit. If 10 or even 20 million more comes their way because the company profits in a relatively proportional fashion, I’m fine with that as well. Again, I don’t begrudge anyone for making money.

          Trumka’s salary may be a distraction from that conversation; but I do believe he is the one playing misdirection. Accordingly, I called him a hypocrite. He may not be taking home “millions”; but he’s also “not” a CEO. He’s a member representative. Just one of the guys fighting for the common man; flying first class; meeting with the President on a monthly basis; and rarely seeing the inside of a factory.

  3. April 28, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    I have to agree with you as obviously, we’re nowhere near being on the same page. And to be honest, I’m not really sure what the point is. Trumka makes $300K which aside from him not being a CEO, is a pretty modest fee for a person of his position which, from your own admission, you don’t begrudge him for. You acknowledge that he isn’t a CEO per se but seem to downplay the cash that corporate COEs are raking in by how we determine salary verses bonuses. I’m wondering if we were to label Trumka as a Union Corporate CEO (verses “Union Boss”) and paid him $15K a year along with a $300K bonus, that would somehow change the dialog.
    But I think the bigger point is that by him attacking CEO pay and perhaps how workers wages have waned or stagnated, his $300K pay makes him a hypocrite. That’s pretty weak tea.
    And it’s really hard to address this argument without threadjacking into areas of corporate tax breaks and the effects of the trickle down theory. You mention Apple but have you looked at the cash they’re sitting on, the taxes they’ve paid, and the jobs (or lack of that being created)? We could also look at GE or even how 30 of the Fortune 500 companies paid negative taxes (and a huge amount paid less than 1%) while doling out huge CEO bonuses and lowering worker’s wages and benefits.
    Trumka, being an advocate of the workers, obviously brings these issues front and center. The fact that he’s paid $300K is a non issue. Would you expect for him to turn it down? Would you expect a CEO to turn down a bonus?

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