The Corner

Big Labor, Big Spenders

This article in today’s Detroit Free Press is made possible by new Department of Labor reporting regulations that the Bush administration fought to implement–a behind-the-scenes victory for conservative governance:

UAW pays for fun, perks

BY JENNIFER DIXON While their union membership shrank by 15% last year, United Auto Workers officials spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on meetings at splashy resorts from Palm Springs to Cape Cod, and paid tens of thousands more for bowling and shooting tournaments, baseball and golf.

More than $22,000 alone went for souvenir key chains.

The spending is outlined in U.S. Labor Department forms that, for the first time, require unions to provide greater details about how they spend members’ money.

Some details:

Here is how the UAW said it spent a portion of its $307-million budget in 2005:

• $5,150 to produce a retirement video honoring Detroit-area official Ken Terry.

• $21,883 for director’s club jackets” for Region 5, representing western and southwestern states.

• $684,360 for air travel, including $167,616 for “flights to Black Lake/retiree conference.”

• $5,386 for luggage tags.

• $30,544 to cancel a leadership meeting at Hyatt Regency Dearborn. UAW said it received a credit from the hotel and used it later.

• $12,523 for bowling towels.

• $318,498 for conference briefcases, portfolios and pens.

• $66,032 for leadership conference at Palm Springs Riviera Resort in Palm Springs, Calif.

• $66,639 for meeting, conference and other non-itemized expenses at Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort in Mt. Pleasant.

• $66,519 for UAW/DaimlerChrysler meeting at Bally’s Las Vegas.

• $10,577 at Thunderbowl Lanes in Allen Park.

• $5,250 at Jaqua’s Fine Guns Inc. in Findlay, Ohio, for a shooting tournament.

• $63,473 at Thousands Hills Golf Resort and Conference Center in Branson, Mo., for a staff meeting, golf fees and other expenses for the Missouri-based region.

• $5,881 for Toledo Mud Hens baseball.

John J. Miller is the national correspondent for National Review and the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. His new book is Reading Around: Journalism on Authors, Artists, and Ideas.

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