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AFSCME DC37: Where do your union dues go?

AFSCME District Council 37 is New York City’s largest public employee union, representing over 125,000 workers across 60 locals. It is reporting -$50 million in net negative assets but continues to reward its top officials with large salaries.

The union takes between $312 and $1,885 out of members’ paychecks in annual union dues. In 2021, District Council 37 officials collected a total of $46.7 million in dues, while they sold $20.4 million in investments and fixed assets and took out a $4.8 million loan. In addition to the loan, DC 37 is carrying $114 million in debt owed to union employees for retirement benefits.

Despite its debt, top unions officials continued to receive large salaries and other incentives, including Henry Garrido, the executive director, who received $362,625 from the union. Maf Uddin, treasurer of DC 37, received $291,436 in 2021. Membership in DC 37 dropped by 4,481 members from 2020 to 2021. In 2021, total membership was 125,506.

Most of the dues money the union collected was spent on running the union. Nearly 74% of the union’s spending went to union administration, employee benefits, the purchase of investments and fixed assets, and general overhead such as rent and building maintenance. Only $12.3 million, or 23% of total spending, went towards representational activities, which includes grievance resolution, arbitration, collective bargaining, and other responsibilities the union has to its members.

Most of the remaining money went to political activities and lobbying.

The Janus v. AFSCME Supreme Court decision relieves nonmembers from the obligation to pay any dues or fees to the union as a condition of public employment. However, for public employees who remain AFSCME members, Janus changes nothing about how union dues are spent: they are still routinely used for political purposes.

In 2021, District Council 37 spent more than $1.7 million on politics. The union is required to report its political spending on an LM-2 form. In 2021, AFSCME District Council 37 spent: