Analysis: The ‘One Percent’ Leaders of America’s Top Teachers Unions, All Making More Than $300,000 a Year
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Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, with an annual salary of $472,197, expressed her frustration by saying, "It’s unfair that we have to live from paycheck to paycheck."
Income inequality is a highly debated topic, with labor unions positioning themselves as the defenders of the working class against the wealthy elite.
However, it is worth noting that the top officials of these unions have also reached the ranks of the ultra-wealthy, benefiting greatly from their position.
Financial analysts at DQYDJ.com specialize in analyzing personal income and net worth. Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, they determined that to be in the top 1% of pre-tax income in 2016, an individual needed to have earned at least $300,800.
Upon reviewing the financial disclosure reports from the U.S. Department of Labor for the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), I found that NEA President Lily Eskelsen García ($317,826), Executive Director John Stocks ($355,721), AFT President Randi Weingarten ($472,197), Secretary-Treasurer Lorretta Johnson ($359,584), and Executive Vice President Mary Cathryn Ricker ($325,314) all comfortably exceeded this threshold.
I also conducted a comprehensive analysis of NEA’s workforce salaries, taking note of the temporary employees versus full-time workers. Among the NEA employees, alongside Eskelsen García and Stocks, 18 others were found to be in the top 2% of U.S. wage earners, and an additional 104 fell within the top 5%.
In total, NEA’s payroll for 2016 amounted to over $68.6 million for its 555 employees, resulting in an average income of $123,613 per worker. This places the average NEA worker within the top 8% of wage earners in the United States. To provide context, the average salary of teachers in 2016, $58,353, positioned them in the top 30%.
While NEA’s monetary compensation is generous, its pension and benefit package is even more substantial.
It is crucial to acknowledge that there are individuals with significantly higher annual incomes than those of teachers union officers, some of whom advocate for education policies that contradict those of NEA and AFT. However, it seems that the unions have adopted a commonly held definition of the wealthy as "anyone who earns more than me."
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