Union Head Questions Corporate Pay, Ignores Own Officers’ Huge Salaries

Teachers union president gets $492k in 2017, after years of pay freeze for teachers

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten. Photo via AFT.

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten retweeted a post on Wednesday from the Los Angeles Times newspaper guild questioning why executives make so much money while newsroom employees take pay cuts.

The newspaper guild had questioned why the newspaper company had a handful of richly compensated executives while the journalists were told there was little money for raises.

Ironically, teachers in the Michigan branch of the union Weingarten heads might ask the same about high ranking union officials’ pay and performance.

The Detroit Federation of Teachers is AFT’s main presence in Michigan, and teachers in the DFT took a 10 percent pay cut in 2011, followed by years of salary freezes. Detroit teachers received a raise this year for the first time since 2011. Enrollment in Detroit's public school district plummeted from 77,594 in 2011 to 45,720 in 2017.

While this was happening, the top three executives at the AFT national union mostly experienced steady increases in their substantial compensation packages, according to union reports released this month.

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The AFT’s Secretary-Treasurer Loretta Johnson saw her base salary increase from $270,531 in 2014 to $291,134 in 2017, a 7.6 percent increase over three years. Johnson saw her total compensation increase by 11.4 percent over that same time period, increasing from $352,307 to $392,530.

Mary Cathryn Ricker, the AFT’s executive vice president, experienced a salary increase from $224,847 in 2015 to $256,864 in 2017, a 14.2 percent increase over two years. Ricker’s total compensation jumped by 14.2 percent over two years, going from $295,275 in 2015 to $337,434 in 2017.

Weingarten’s salary has gone from $375,174 in 2014 to $403,747 in 2017. Her total compensation, however, has dropped. Weingarten’s compensation was $557,875 in 2014, and it dropped to $492,563 in 2017. Weingarten’s reduction in compensation didn’t come in her salary. Her “disbursements for official business” went down from $105,443 in 2015 to $20,366 in 2017.


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The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is a free market, non-partisan educational institute workings towards a freer and fairer government. Our main focuses are in the following policy areas: Fiscal, Education, Energy and Environment, Labor, and Criminal Justice. Learn more at www.mackinac.org/issues

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