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SEIU: Where do your dues go?

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) represents over 1.8 million workers primarily in healthcare, public sector, and property services. According to the SEIU’s 2022 Form LM-2, an annual financial report it files with the Department of Labor, in 2022, the union collected nearly $240 million in dues revenue from its membership, averaging at about $131 per member. Of the $130 million the union reported spending on representational activities, about $100 million of this line item went toward organizing new members. SEIU also spent $63.5 million on political activities and lobbying, which is more than double what it spent representing its members ($28.6 million).

Outside of organizing new members and left-wing political advocacy, the SEIU spent most of the remaining money on running the union. In 2022, the SEIU spent about $67 million on administration, overhead, and employee salaries and benefits. The SEIU’s top earner was its president Mary Kay Henry, who earned a gross salary of $271,713. Other top earners included executive vice presidents Leslie Frane, Neal Bisno, Arcelia Saenz, and Heather Conroy, who all earned $214,085 in gross pay.

Despite only having about $21 million in cash at the end of the year (down from about $146 million in 2021), the SEIU is in good financial shape. In 2022, the union spent about $108 million purchasing market securities, bringing its total investments to over $212 million. As such, the SEIU ended the year with nearly $373 million in net assets.

After examining the SEIU’s financial reporting document, it is no wonder why the union is struggling to keep workers in the union. Rather than providing services to its membership, the SEIU spends most of its money recruiting new members, supporting progressive politics, and operating the union. If this trend continues, the SEIU should expect to keep losing members.

SEIU Membership Loss and Political Spending

Why is the union spending so much to organize new members? The SEIU lost about 14,000 members in the past year. A deeper examination of the union’s spending may explain the extensive membership loss. In addition to its organizing efforts, the union spent $64 million on political activities and lobbying and about $4.5 million on contributions, gifts, and grants. Most of this spending went to left-wing PACs, nonprofits, and other political organizations. Below are some examples of political organizations the SEIU gave to.