Taxpayers are forking out $4.8 million for 35 union officials at the Department of Transportation. But the beneficiary here isn't the taxpayer, it's President Obama, who is raking campaign cash from these unions.(from news.investors.com)
According to documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act by Americans for Limited Government, 35 officials, representing mostly air traffic controllers' unions, are members of the $100,000 club among federal employees.
Unlike the average American, or even average DOT employee, these union officials draw an average $138,000 in salary and benefits from the federal government, not to give something of value to the taxpayers, but to work exclusively for their unions — the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca), the AFL-CIO-affiliated Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (Pass) and two others.
Eight make more than $170,000. The lowest-paid gets $80,000. That means taxpayers are actually paying for union efforts to shake down taxpayers for ever higher salaries and benefits for government workers.
Average controller compensation for the 20,000 or so federal air traffic controllers totaled $166,000 in 2006 and has been forecast to rise towards $200,000 in the next five years, according to a study by the Heritage Foundation.
By contrast, the average American makes $50,000 and the average DOT employee makes $70,000.
It's bad enough that taxpayers are on the hook for a union whose interests are in opposition to their own, but even the workers aren't getting much of value from this taxpayer-paid union representation, either.
"At least 50% of the people you work with aren't worth what they are paid either. ... Incentive and recognition aren't the strong points," wrote one FAA employee, describing his work on the jobs bulletin board Glassdoor.com
"People make a good deal of money, yet are often whining about not making more. Most of the whining I overheard came from people making over 90K a year," wrote another.
"The employees that don't pull their own weight are not disciplined because of PASS (the union)," said another.
"Brown noses advance well. You have to brag on yourself exceeding in all areas for performance bonus which some find fun since they sit around on smoke break 1/4 of day, allowing co-workers to carry load," said another.
It underlines that value for the taxpayer isn't the idea here. Political influence is.
"(W)e are one of the strongest and most influential labor unions in the federal sector," bragged Natca President Paul Rinaldi, in a statement on the union's website.
Last September, the Wall Street Journal reported that Natca very quietly has zoomed up on the political influence ladder, almost from nowhere, contributing the second-highest amount of union cash to pro-Democratic Super PACS at $1.5 million. Besides that, it shelled out $3.1 million to elect mostly Democratic politicians.
The Journal noted that Obama has OK'd salary increases for these unions, and undoubtedly threw in the no-show jobs for the union members.
The Journal noted that while Natca has only 20,000 members at No. 2, the Service Employees International Union, which ranks No. 1 for donations, has 2.1 million members.
Natca itself has a hulking glassy modern headquarters building in Washington, D.C.'s toney Logan Circle area.
A union with that kind of cash for politics and presence should be able to pay its employees. It's more than a little odd that the federal government pays that many union employees $100,000-plus in taxpayer funds.
It highlights the basic conflict of interest between public employee unions and government by consent of the people. Unions give cash to elect politicians to do their bidding — and those politicians dole out cash to union officials as a reward.
As other unions grumbled about Obama not being left-wing enough for their tastes, Natca has dived in for new cash and no-show jobs. The loser here? The American people. This has got to stop.
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