The Corner

Economy & Business

Union Leaders Earn More than Most CEOs

Last week, AFL-CIO, the largest trade union organization in the U.S., released the results from its annual Executive Paywatch report: CEOs at S&P 500 companies earned on average $13.1 million in 2016, and “this greed of corporate CEOs” has caused a “CEO-to-worker pay ratio of 347 to 1.”

“It’s shameful that CEOs can make tens of millions of dollars,” AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka said, “and still destroy the livelihoods of the hard-working people who make their companies profitable.”

But the AFL-CIO report neglected to include the average salary for all CEOs in the U.S. in 2016, which, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, was $194,350. These same union leaders who criticize the salaries of CEOs earned on average $252,370 in 2016 — nearly $60,000 more than their private-sector counterparts.

The Center for Union Facts, the union watchdog that unveiled the average presidential salary from nearly 200 unions, found that some union leaders are earning lucrative salaries north of $700,000.

“Timothy Canoll, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, earned more than $775,000 last year,” wrote Luka Ladan, the Center for Union Facts’s communications director, in a column for the East Bay Times. “International Brotherhood of Boilermakers President Newton Jones came close at $756,973, while Laborers’ International Union President Terence O’Sullivan made nearly $718,000 in total compensation.”

Even AFL-CIO’s president Richard Trumka made nearly $300,000 in 2016, as he championed the narrative that corporations are attempting to “rig the economy in their favor and line their CEOs’ pockets at the expense of the workers who make their businesses run.”

Austin YackAustin Yack is a William F. Buckley Fellow in Political Journalism at the National Review Institute and a University of California, Santa Barbara alumnus.

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