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Union Facts

Union Officials: Lifestyles Of The Rich And Infamous

Union officials often use their members' mandatory dues as a personal piggy bank. Examining official financial disclosures records on file with the Department of Labor, the Center for Union Facts found that unions spent millions of member money on golf events, steak and lobster dinners, stays at luxury resorts, liquor, sports tickets, and more.

    Where Member Money Goes

  • More than $1 million in union members' dues money was spent on golf.
  • The Ironworkers AFL-CIO Local Union 40 spent $52,879 on a new Cadillac for a retiring president.
  • $7 million of employee dues money went to resort expenditures.
  • Between six AFL-CIO locals, over $50,000 of employee dues money was spent at a single D.C. steakhouse.
  • The AFL-CIO alone spent over $49 million on political activities and lobbying—much of which is spent quietly on in-kind political expenditures like pro-Kerry brochures and websites. That's almost $20 million more than it spent representing members!

    Sports Tickets

  • The Council of the Carpenter's union in Oakland spent $7,513 on season tickets to the Oakland Athletics baseball games and then spent $10,604 on Sacramento Kings basketball tickets.
  • The International Association of Fire Fighters' national headquarters spent $8,872 on season tickets for the Washington Redskins' football games and an additional $10,115 on Washington Nationals baseball tickets.
  • SEIU's national headquarters spent $14,180 on Washington Nationals season tickets.
  • The national headquarters of the Sheet Metal Workers' union spent $12,864 on season tickets to the Washington Redskins.

We also found members dues going to support higher cultural pursuits, with mandatory dollars supporting the opera.