Labor Reform Movement: August 7, 2012

What Does Trumka Do to Earn $293,750
Besides Refusing to Answer Our Questions?

By Harry Kelber


Union members often wonder what AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka does to earn eight times their average salary. They can’t find out from Trumka himself, because for years he has refused to answer any of our questions.

We know that he makes speeches about the nation’s economic crisis, but we have yet to hear what he’s actually done to improve things for us. He has no plan to stop the exodus of tens of thousands of good-paying U.S. jobs to low-wage countries. He’s talk; but no action.

We’ve asked him why he hasn’t demanded that Wall Street establish a fund to compensate victims for the loss of millions of jobs and homes, but he won’t even talk to the bankers face-to-face about negotiating a fair settlement.

Trumka and his top aides have never issued a financial report of the AFL-CIO’s investments and assets, despite repeated requests from union members. He spends union per capita money as he chooses and does not have to account to an oversight committee for whatever he spends.

When unions lost hundreds of thousands of members during the recession years, there was no alarm at AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington. Trumka had no message to union members. He has continued to receive his full $293,750 in full and on time, regardless of AFL-CIO losses in membership and bargaining power and a dismal record of legislative failures.

Trumka made himself president of the National Labor College, but won’t say a word about the financial debts that the NLC has accumulated by gross mismanagement, the details of which were made public by the International Association of Machinists (IAM). .

Trumka Bans Talk about U.S. Wars and Women’s Rights

Acting largely on his own, Trumka has banished talk about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan on the AFL-CIO NOW web site and public statements by top officials. He did this in disregard of the millions of union members who have family, relatives, friends and co-workers on overseas battlefields, who are keenly interested in what’s happening in the two wars.

He did the same thing with women’s rights, banning talk about Planned Parenthood, abortion and birth control from the AFL-CIO web site and its publications. He overlooked the fact that working women comprise some 40 percent of the AFL-CIO membership

It is impossible to challenge Trumka’s actions, because he is the final judge of any membership protest.

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There is no provision to repeal Trumka’s actions, because he has the last word in any AFL-CIO controversy.

The new grassroots American Labor Reformers will be starting an investigation about the high salaries we pay our top officials and what we expect from them in return. If you want to voice your opinion, write to our email: hkelber@earthlink.net. (200 words maximum)