Income inequality at the state teachers' union

State teachers' union Education Minnesota has added its voice to the chorus of labor union decrying income inequality and wage gaps. But Education Minnesota seems less concerned about the wage gap between the union’s legion of high-paid operatives and the public school teachers they represent. In fact, according to a recently filed with the U.S. Department of Labor, at least 63 Education Minnesota staff and elected officers were paid over $100,000 last year. Among those collecting $100,000+ are top elected officers as well as union organizers, lobbyists, and field staff.

The compensation details were included in the union’s 2013 Labor Organization Annual Report ("Form LM-2"), a legally required filing for unions with more than $250,000 in annual receipts.

The union’s "$100K Club" is growing. In 2012, 62 people on the union’s payroll made over $100,000, compared to 49 the year before. This compensation is paid for with the dues and fees public school teachers are forced to pay to Education Minnesota, even if they do not belong to the union or support its political agenda.

Education Minnesota leaders also uses teachers’ compulsory union dues to give themselves lavish benefits, including discretionary spending accounts, travel expenses for companions, and housing allowances for non-metro union officers, and company cars. In fact, the union spent more than $500,000 last year to purchase 22 new vehicles.

If the past is any indicator, the Department of Labor records likely understate the level of compensation. For example, a Form 990 filed with the Internal Revenue Service lists six Education Minnesota officials who were paid more than $200,000 in fiscal year 2012, while the union’s LM-2 form reports paying its top paid official about $193,000.

Meanwhile, Education Minnesota recently threw its support behind a proposal to increase the state's minimum wage, and has increasingly made income inequality a key part of their political agenda. Of course, the teachers’ union is less anxious to discuss the income inequality between its own leaders and the teachers who are forced to pay them.

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