WHO WERE THE HIGHEST PAID UNION OFFICIALS?
A few weeks ago we compared the four major federal sector unions to one another with a particular focus on how each spends its dues money. (See “Compare AFGE, NATCA, NFFE & NTEU By the Numbers.” That is something we are going to continue to look at for the simple reason that the more efficiently that money is spent the better off employees should be. Having an understanding of the different ways unions spend puts all of us in a position to spot the better ways to use the cash. Given that NTEU finally filed its report for 2014 the last few days in December we can now compare unions using reports filed only in 2014. This post focuses on who were the highest paid union officials as reported in 2014. Here is what we found.
$390,817. Richard Hirn, Outside Counsel for NWSEO
$345,084. Frank Ferris, NTEU Director of Negotiations (Retired)
$296,704. Paul Rinaldi, NATCA National President
$280,425. Colleen Kelley, NTEU National President
$284,438. Anthony Reardon, NTEU National Executive Vice President
Hirn, who provided legal and lobbying services, took home almost 50% of all the dues paid by the weather service employees during the report period, and appears to be the highest paid single attorney in the federal sector—receiving far more than the full-time General Counsels of NTEU, NATCA, AFGE or NFFE. The firm of Bredhoff, Kaiser billed NAGE and NTEU over a million for legal services in the report periods, but there are more than two dozen attorneys on its staff.
NTEU dominated the list spending over $900,000 on three leaders; however, NATCA continued to have the highest paid national president. He earned almost twice what AFGE paid David Cox, leader of the largest federal sector unions that arguably has been the most successful one this century given its membership growth. For example, AFGE’s national president has increased the union’s membership by over 104,000 more members since 2000 while NTEU has achieved a net increase of slightly over 9,000 during that time.
Each year the DC press seems to publish these salary figures wrapped in very superficial articles suggesting how overpaid union leaders are. We see no reason to hide the information from those outside the beltway media market because members and local leaders are the only ones who can judge whether leadership compensation is appropriate. Of course, they need to know the details before they can do that.