Thursday, March 23, 2006

Openness for Unions

I have always found it ironic that it is illegal for companies to work together to set prices, but unions are legally sanctioned by the government to do so. In any case I found this story in the Weekly Standard on new union reporting requirements interesting.

A few days spent perusing the spreadsheets of the 20 percent of unions that have already submitted their LM-2s for fiscal year 2005 showed that many unions have reported their affairs in detail--down to the $97,888 made by the enterprising Retiree Chapter Local 455 of the UAW in bingo income. Other numbers may raise eyebrows. Gerald B. Ellis, for example, made $116,703 in 2004 as a business manager at Local 627 of the International Union of Operating Engineers, a member of the AFL-CIO. Local 627 also buys $86,400 worth of legal services from the one-man law firm Gerald B. Ellis, Inc., nicely padding its business manager's income.

And how about the lavish destination meetings enjoyed by the AFL-CIO's executive council: As the private watchdog organization the Center for Union Facts reported recently after it followed the super-union's executive council to its retreat in California, the 46 members of the council stayed at the pricey Hotel del Coronado (check the Labor Department's website next year for dollar amounts) at a time when the Carpenters' Union was picketing that very hotel--hypocrisy one might expect of a politician (say, Nancy Pelosi, who won't allow workers at her Napa Valley hotel to unionize), but surely not of labor bosses, right?