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Union bosses battling Missouri right-to-work make big bucks

By   /   September 7, 2015  /   News  /   No Comments

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RIGHT-TO-WORK FOR LESS? Washington, D.C., Teamsters union president James P. Hoffa, who is trying to stop right-to-work in Missouri, was paid $379,411 last year.

Teamsters bosses and other labor union leaders may have personal financial motives for their political opposition to a Missouri right-to-work bill facing an imminent override vote in the state General Assembly.

The bill, which Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed in June, would let private-sector workers choose whether to pay labor unions.

Union officials — whose pay comes from dues deducted from workers’ paychecks — don’t want that to happen.

Teamsters headquarters in Washington, D.C., has donated $250,000 to Preserve Middle Class America, one of several “coalitions” trying to kill right-to-work in Missouri.

Jim Kabell, listed on Missouri secretary of state documents as the primary contact for Preserve Middle Class America, was paid $93,047 by Teamsters headquarters last year.

Kabell was paid another $65,934 as secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 245, $10,300 as president of Teamsters Joint Council 56 and $7,800 as president of the Missouri-Kansas-Nebraska Conference of Teamsters.

All told, Kabell was paid $177,081 by Teamsters headquarters and Teamsters affiliates in 2014.

United Food & Commercial Workers Local 655 president David Cook, who is listed as president of Preserve Middle Class America on the registration form filed by Kabell, was paid $177,653 last year.

Leaders of the “middle class” group fighting right-to-work are paid more than three times as much as the average Missouri family. Median household income in Missouri is $47,380, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

BACKGROUND: Unions hide union label in Missouri right-to-work fight

Teamsters international president James P. Hoffa, who was paid a total of $379,411 last year, was one of three Teamsters bosses who received more than $250,000 from the union. The others were General Secretary-Treasurer Richard Hall ($289,191) and Bill Smith ($259,610), Hoffa’s executive assistant.

In 2014, Teamsters headquarters paid 10 staffers and officers more than $200,000 each, and paid 192 staffers and officers more than $100,000.

Preserve Middle Class America is run by the Teamsters with help from UFCW 655, but the nonprofit has many generous union donors. International Union of Operating Engineers headquarters in Washington, D.C., has contributed $250,000.

IUOE president James Callahan was paid a total of $488,377 last year. Callahan was one of nine IUOE bosses paid more than $250,000. The others were:

  • Joseph Giacin, Chief of Staff: $332,131
  • Raymond Poupore, Construction Director: $314,394
  • Brian Powers, General Counsel: $301,336
  • John Loughry, Chief Financial Officer: $290,220
  • Jeffrey Fiedler, Special Initiative Director: $285,027
  • Christopher Hanley, National Pension Coordinator: $260,002
  • Michael Wall, Regional Director – Midwest: $251,516
  • John Leary, Associate General Counsel: $250,634

In 2014, IUOE headquarters paid 22 officers and employees more than $200,000 each, and paid 65 officers and employees more than $100,000.

While Preserve Middle Class America uses Teamsters Local 245 headquarters in Springfield as its mailing address, multiple union payments to the nonprofit have been sent to Teamsters Local 41 in Kansas City.

Excluding trustees, Teamsters Local 41 staff and officers were paid an average of $95,669 last year. Union vice president George Gardner was paid $159,600 and union president Victor Terranella was paid $154,781.

The list of well-heeled union officials helping orchestrate right-to-work opposition in Missouri doesn’t stop there.

Carpenters union leaders behind The Committee to Protect Missouri Families are paid far more than actual carpenters.

Hugh McVey, who was identified as a spokesman for activist group We Are Missouri in a 2013 news story, was president of the Missouri AFL-CIO at the time. Including retirement and other benefits, McVey’s compensation totaled $349,026 in 2013.

Teamsters Local 245, Teamsters Local 41, UFCW 655 and the Missouri AFL-CIO all failed to respond to requests for comment on staff and officer pay.

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Jason was formerly a reporter for Watchdog.org