>On Behalf Of Chris Kromm
> Funny part is that Sweeney is making less than many of his underlings.
Hardly surprising.. the AFL head job since Gompers has been considered more the servant of the big union heads, than the top job itself. Bill Green who succeeded Gompers was never seen as above the union heads like the Carpenters Bill Hutcheson or the Miners John L. Lewis. Even when the CIO broke off, Lewis always valued his Miners job more than his CIO job (and dropped the latter but never the former).
Meany had a pretty strong public status, but Reuther and other union heads always could match him in power - if only with the threat of pulling out as Reuther himself would do in 1968.
Kirkland really was never had much more of a role than the manager chosen by the real powers on the union exec board.
And as for pay, it's worth remembering that the AFL-CIO core budget is only $60 million, a tiny fraction of the budget of the international unions. Top union pay has actually dropped quite a bit in a number of unions like HERE, SEIU and the Teamsters, since along with regular salary, the heads used to regularly collect additional salaries as trustees of pension and health care funds, or from various locals. That abusive practice has been being phased out, so while the salaries are way too large, there has been some improvement in recent years.
-- Nathan Newman