A LOOK AT AFT SPENDING IN THE 2019-2020 SCHOOL YEAR
The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) collected $186 million in member dues in 2019-2020. That’s 4% more than AFT brought in the year before, thanks to a 2% increase in dues. Members of AFT-afiliated unions who worked full-time paid $234.96 in dues during the 2019-2020 school year.
AFT member dues fund a number of political causes and progressive policy organizations, including large donations to help Democrats win majorities in the U.S. House and Senate and efforts to sway state and local elections.
Based on the union’s own financial reporting, AFT spent only 30% of total disbursements on representational activities, the category of spending most directly related to labor representation, such as collective bargaining negotiations, handling grievances, and arbitration proceedings.
Another 13% of members’ dues was spent on politics, according to the same financial reporting documents. The union spent additional money on political advocacy but listed it in the “Contributions, Gifts, and Grants” category.
Meanwhile, AFT President Randi Weingarten received $453,000 in salary and disbursements in 2019-2020, on top of an unspecified amount for retirement and health care benefits. AFT Secretary-Treasurer Lorretta Johnson received a salary and other disbursements of $324,000.
Other 2019-2020 expenditures included $3.6 million on hotels and $2.5 million on transportation.
AFT dues money pays for politics.
In its yearly financial statement, AFT reported spending 13% of member dues, a whopping $45.9 million, on political, legislative, and advocacy work in 2019-2020. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Labor’s “LM-2” financial report shows $31.3 million in spending on political activities and lobbying, with additional political spending falling under the “Contributions, Gifts, and Grants” category.
The Janus v. AFSCME Supreme Court decision relieves nonmembers from the obligation to pay any fees to the union as a condition of public employment. However, for employees who remain AFT members, Janus changes NOTHING about how union dues are spent, meaning they can still be used for political purposes.
According to federal law, member dues can be used for a variety of political activities, such as get-out-the-vote drives, election mailers, lobbying, and public marketing campaigns. This spending must be itemized and reported annually on the “LM-2” financial report.