How Much Good Could Labor Union Leaders Do If They Cared?

| April 22, 2011 | Reply

It is an article of faith on the left that if we simply jacked taxes up on some random number of faceless and nameless rich people, we could magically turn that money into great-paying jobs for other people who aren’t rich. I’ve never been clear on the details of the plan, mostly because progressives always draw up just short of saying exactly how high a tax rate is just right or how we’ll turn this money into great-paying jobs, but I see it’s come up again in a press release by the AFL-CIO.

In 2010, Standard & Poor’s 500 Index company CEOs received, on average, $11.4 million in total compensation. Based on 299 companies’ most recent pay data for 2010, their combined total CEO pay of $3.4 billion could support 102,325 median workers’ jobs.

I applaud the very wealthy people who run the AFL-CIO for their concern for people who make far less money than they. I have suggested before that unions like the AFL-CIO could do a great deal of good in a tough economy if they waived their mandatory dues for just one year, but I’ve never tried to figure out just how much money that might leave in the pockets of workers. Fortunately, the author of this post at RedState has done something very similar. He looked at the number of union members, assumed they all paid a very conservative $50 a month in union dues, and figured out just how many jobs that money could have created, using the AFL-CIO’s own logic.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2010, there were 14.7 million union Americans belonging to unions. While that only represents 11.9 percent of all wage and salary earners, there is a substantial amount of dues money flowing to unions.

If we were to use a conservative figure of $50 per month for union dues, in 2010, unions collected $735,000,000 per month in union dues from America’s unionized workers.Multiply $735,000,000 by 12 months and you get a whopping $8,820,000,000 that was collected in union dues in 2010.

Divide $8,820,000,000 by $33,227 and you’ll find that if unions did not take union dues from workers in 2010, 265,447 workers’ jobs could have been supported.

Uh oh! We might just have found a reason why labor union leaders don’t like talking about economic facts. See, unlike the salaries of Fortune 500 CEOs, the salaries of labor union leaders come directly from the pockets of poor and middle-class workers. Also, unlike those Fortune 500 CEO’s, labor union leaders don’t actually create jobs. They are, in fact, leeches on our economy and the paychecks of hard-working Americans.

I would suggest that maybe 2011 will be the year that union leaders do the right thing and waive those mandatory dues for a year, but I live in the real world. That makes me quite different from the parasites who run the AFL-CIO

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Category: The Economy and Your Money, The Rise of the Nanny State

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