Union Bosses: The New Robber Barons

Posted by Olivia Grady on Friday, October 14th, 2016 at 5:41 pm - Permalink

By Olivia Grady

Union leaders in the Rust Belt help themselves to large salaries – taken from workers’ pay.

In addition to donating to politicians who don’t support their members, union leaders also help themselves to large salaries from member dues.

Take Ohio, for example.

In 2015, the United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 75, based in Dayton, Ohio paid a number of its officers high salaries. President Lennie Wyatt received over $480,000. Secretary Treasurer Steve Culter was paid over $500,000. In addition, ten other officers and employees made over $100,000 that year.

The Cleveland-based union, Laborers Local Union 860, also paid its officers well. For example, Anthony Liberatore, Secretary Treasurer and Business Manager, was paid almost $350,000, and Field Representative Leonard Rizzo made over $154,000.

The Laborers District Council in Westerville, Ohio was generous in 2015 as well. Ralph Cole, the business manager and secretary treasurer, was paid over $348,000. Also, Pipeline Specialist Raymond Hipsher received over $165,000, and Marketing Director Randall McGuire made almost $164,000.

In Independence, Ohio, the Locomotive Engineers, IBT National Headquarters paid National Secretary Treasurer Stephen Bruno over $225,000, Vice President Cole Davis over $216,000, and Vice President Richard Gibbons over $212,000. Gilbert Gore, another vice president, also made over $208,000 while Vice President James Louis received almost $200,000.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) AFL-CIO has a local union (4) in Columbus, Ohio. That local union paid its Director of Legal Services, Thomas Drabick, over $176,000 and its Associate Director Gary Martin over $210,000.

In 2015, the Ohio Education Association in Columbus, Ohio, part of the National Education Association paid President Becky Higgins over $209,000, Executive Director Sheryl Mathis over $207,000, Vice President Scott Dimauro over $191,000, and Secretary-Treasurer Tim Myers over $187,000.

Finally in Cincinnati, Ohio, Laborers Local Union 265 paid four officers more than $140,000. Business Manager John Phillips received over $194,000, while President Anthony Youngblood was paid over $146,000. Anthony Brice, the secretary treasurer, and Justin Phillips, a secretary, received over $158,000 and $150,000, respectively.

Ohio union leaders aren’t alone. Pennsylvania union leaders do the same thing.

In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania State Association, part of the National Education Association paid many of its officers over $200,000 in 2015. President Michael Crossey received over $236,000, Vice President W. Gerard Oleksiak was paid over $210,000, and Treasurer Dolores McCracken was paid over $207,000. Also, four UniServ representatives, Lora Apaliski, Tricia Audrain, Terra Begolly, and Kathleen Bell were paid over $146,000, over $146,000, over $154,000 and over $149,000, respectively. The union paid both Craig Apessos, regional field director, and David Arva, the artist and graphics coordinator, over $155,000. Field Manager Thomas Bell was paid over $172,000, and Regional Field Director Marcia Bender received over $164,000 as well. Further, about 75 additional employees made over $140,000 that year.

Finally, AFSCME AFL-CIO Leadership Council 13 is located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and pays its officers and employees well. David Fillman, the executive director, was paid over $226,000 in 2015, and Assistant to the Director Charles Benn received over $273,000. Another assistant to the director, William Brenner, was paid over $151,000, Organizing Director Robert Cason received $145,000, and the union paid Legislative Director William Dando over $155,000. Education Director Carla Insinga received over $160,000, while Jesse Newcomer IV, Assistant to the Director, was paid over $148,000.

My final example is Michigan.

The Michigan Education Association in East Lansing, Michigan, part of the National Education Association paid its president, Steve Cook, over $241,000 and its vice president, Nancy Strachan, over $187,000. Secretary Treasurer Rick Trainor also received over $190,000.

In Grand Rapids, Michigan, United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 951, paid President John Cakmakci over $203,000, Executive Board member Tom Hatinger over $143,000, and Recorder/Finance Karin Hopman over $145,000. Another Executive Board member, Todd Regis, also received over $148,000, and Secretary Treasurer David Way was paid over $151,000 as well.

Finally, Detroit, Michigan is home to the national headquarters of the United Automobile Workers. Despite the decline in the manufacturing of cars in Michigan, these officers and employees still received large salaries. All fourteen officers were paid over $140,000 in 2015. And, at least an additional twenty employees also made over $140,000.

Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan are prime examples of states that have lost a number of manufacturing jobs, but yet, union leaders continue to make large salaries. This is especially surprising when the salaries of union leaders are compared to the salaries of their members.

In Ohio, for example, the annual mean salary was $44,750 for 2015. For teachers in elementary school and high school, the mean salary was about $58,000. Electricians made $51,190, and machinists made about $41,000. Food preparation and servers were paid about $21,000, construction workers received about $40,000, and locomotive engineers made about $46,000.

Likewise, $46,550 was the annual mean wage in Pennsylvania in 2015, and teachers made about $60,000. Food preparation and servers were paid about $19,000. Electricians made about $58,000, while construction workers received about $38,000. Machinists also made about $40,000, and locomotive engineers were paid about $57,000.

Finally, in Michigan, the annual mean wage was $46,310. Teachers were paid about $62,000, and Food preparers and servers made about $19,000. Electricians received about $59,000 and machinists about $41,000. Construction workers were paid about $37,000, while locomotive engineers were paid about $65,000.

Therefore, many union leaders are making at least double what their members are making.

How are they able to do this?

Because about half of the states do not have right-to-work laws. Right-to-work laws allow workers to choose whether or not to join a union. In many states, like Ohio and Pennsylvania, workers are forced to join a union and pay dues, dues which end up in the pockets of these union bosses.


Other union leaders and their salaries:


United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 75 (OH):

Director of Finance Tom Bierman: $140,832

Director of Bargaining Bryon O’Neil: $168,265

Executive Vice President Kevin Garvey: $199,880


Laborers Local Union 860 (OH):

Field Representative Mallory Jackson: $149,164


Laborers District Council (OH):

Field Representative Yancy Shaw: $150,353

Secretary Treasurer Kenneth Holland: $201,545

Eddie Deaton: $147,448


Locomotive Engineers, IBT National Headquarters (OH):

President Dennis Pierce: $263,029

Vice President Michael Priester: $214,594

First Vice President Edgar Pruitt: $221,309

Vice President Marcus Reuf: $217,191

Vice President John Tolman: $216,535

Vice President Michael Twombly: $225,635

Special Representative Paul Aird: $145,431

Director of Benefits Albert Cook III: $152,002

Director of Research Thomas Pontolillo: $161,854


American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) AFL-CIO, Local Union 4 (OH):

Regional Director Steve Myers: $145,975

Regional Director Lloyd Rains: $145,708

Executive Director Joseph Rugola: $252,666

Director of Political Action Randy Weston: $166,239

In addition, almost thirty additional employees made over $100,000.


Ohio Education Association:

Computer Technician Mark Allison: $146,731

Labor Relations Consultant John Avouris: $148,644

Assistant Executive Director Susan Babcock: $174,771

Director of Organizing Andres Becerra: $160,531

Labor Relations Consultants Marla Bell-Gombita: $152,322

Labor Relations Constultant Lee Blanden: $149,349

Labor Relations Consultant Katherine Boerger: $143,884

Labor Relations Consultant George Bozovich: $149,780

About 50 additional employees also received over $140,000 as salaries.


United Food and Commercial Workers, Local Union 1776 (PA):

Wendell Young IV: $445,107

Vice President Edward Chew: $226,310

Treasurer Michele Kessler: $211,842

Vice President Donald McGrogan: $170,947


AFSCME AFL-CIO Leadership Council 13 (PA):

Business Manager Travis Ohm: $140,477

Assistant to the Director, Darrin Spann: $166,176

Director Dominic Sgro: $178,003

Director J D Henderson: $224,525

Director Corey Lockard: $184,660

Director Kerri Gallagher: $177,490

Director Thomas Tosti: $188,322

Director E M Fox: $388,156

Director Mary Schwanger: $168,397

Staff Representative Steven Mullen: $142,497


Michigan Education Association:

UniServ Director Krista Abbott: $143,154

UniServ Director Steve Amberg: $148,348

UniServ Director Cynthia Austin: $144,437

UniServ Director Patrick Bolen: $172,234

UniServ Director Barbara Cameron: $148,141

UniService Director Eduarda Crain: $145,785

UniServ Director Kimberly Edwards: $148,349

UniServ Director Marcia Felegy: $147,532

UniServ Director Richard Flynn: $150,336

UniServ Director John Folsom Jr.: $153,972

UniServ Director Bradley Gibson: $141,819

UniServ Director Jordan Harris: $158,613

UniServ Director Marcella Hartung: $146,194

UniServ Director Ric Hogerheide: $160,899

UniServ Director Michele Israel: $152,563

UniServ Director Tonya Karpinski: $147,704

UniServ Director Terrence La Jeunesse: $145,923

UniServ Director Deborah Larson: $145,112

UniServ Director Mary Lieberman: $150,158

UniServ Director Daniel McCarthy: $151,920

UniServ Director Mark Middlewood: $157,996

UniServ Director Frank Mongene: $150,801

UniServ Director Rondy Murray: $152,864

UniServ Director Jennifer Nowaczok-Miller: $151,938

UniServ Director Gezelle Oliver: $144,329

These names do not include the people with different job titles, like lobbyist, who received over $140,000.