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.
The president is also onboard with Trumka’s message. Obama’s union connections are well documented: White House visitor rolls show the godfather of organized labor making some 70 visits to Obama’s White House.
The AFL-CIO is a major contributor to Democrats during election years, spending almost $1 million on the 2010 midterm elections, 93 percent of those donations going to Democratic candidates. In 2008, over a million dollars, a full 91 percent of the $1.3 million the union donated to congressional campaigns, went to filling Capitol Hill with Democrats.
Trumka ended his email with a call to action: "America can continue with failed policies that offer increasing rewards to corporate profiteers who cut jobs and load up their own pockets—like Mitt Romney did when he was at Bain Capital—or we can work together to make our economy work for everyone. A simple place to start is getting CEO pay under control."