Unions Pay Big, Feds Look the Other Way

September 24, 2013

The Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA) says it fights for equality, for lowering the gap between the highest- and lowest-paid, and against the corrupt practices of corporate fat cats who have politicians in their pockets and avoid paying their fair share in taxes. That's the image the union wants to project. The reality is different, says Luke Rosiak of the Capital Research Center.

At marble palaces throughout Washington, union leaders who are often the sons and grandsons of organizers and who have just as often had virtually no experience toiling on job sites, have come to view themselves as untouchable. Indeed, that sense of invulnerability is rooted in reality, given the record of Obama administration officials in charge of enforcing labor laws.

  • Critics say that the Laborers and other unions are less likely to face scrutiny because President Obama has stacked the Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) with former union officials.
  • Notably, OLMS has stopped auditing the international unions that control the majority of union money and slashed the number of local union audits in half.
  • In 2008, the OLMS audited 791 unions, but in 2011, under new director John Lund, it looked at only 461.
  • Over the past decade, top union officials' compensation has risen even though membership has fallen, and the unions have added significantly more employees to their offices.

The LIUNA presents a case study in the hypocrisy, self-dealing and good-old-boy networking that now characterizes many if not most unions. Entrenchment is common, with the same people holding office year after year. Nepotism is rampant; privilege afforded by birth is the norm in much of the labor movement.

Source: Luke Rosiak, "Labor Watch: The Unions' Own '1%': The Laborers and Other Unions Pay Big, while Feds Look the Other Way," Capital Research Center, August 12, 2013.

 

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