Report: Union Slush Funds for the 21st Century
In December 2007, AWF Executive Director Brian M Johnson teamed up with Ryan Ellis, the Executive Director of the American Shareholders Association, to write a report on union financial activity. Specifically focusing on pension trust funds known as Voluntary Employee Benefit Associations (VEBAs), the publication by the Capital Research Center provides an in-depth review of union financial accountability and transparency. As you may recall, the United Auto Workers (UAW) went on strike against General Motors (GM) in 2007. To settle the strike, GM conceded to a $35 billion VEBA pension fund that the union would monitor for its' workers. Johnson and Ellis explore this result and examine the potential consequences for workers, union members, and GM. A summary of the paper reads:
Labor unions have been searching for a revenue enhancer, something to overcome for their loss of dues-paying members and increased Labor Department oversight of their financial activities. And they've found it in VEBA's, the acronym for a herefore obscure entity called a "voluntary employee benefit association." More and more corporations may soon be giving unions control over their employee benefit trusts. These multi-billion dollar concessions are the unions' golden ticket to renewed power. Worse, Labor Department efforts to monitor union control of VEBAs is threatened by union lawsuits and adverse court decisions.