Diary

Tough Times Doesn't Stop Union Chief’s Salary Double Dipping?

Last month the Las Vegas Sun had an interesting extended interview with Service Employees International Union (SEIU) President Andy Stern in which he claimed that the Culinary union is “going through some tough economic times.” Not surprising in this economy, but tough times or not, it doesn’t seem that these economic conditions are stopping one of Culinary’s union bosses from double dipping his salary.

David Denholm, President of the Public Service Research Foundation did a little research on one of Culinary’s top officers and found some interesting revelations.

According to the Department of Labor, Denholm says, Local 226 has over the last three years lost about 10 percent of its members, falling from 51,162 in 2006 to 46,227 in 2008. So, naturally the Culinary union will be hurting financially since it has fewer dues paying members. On that level, Stern is correct.

But, as I mentioned, tough economic times does not seem to have hampered all too typical union operations. I spoke with Mr. Denholm who told me the following:

While I was there I noticed something interesting that I’ll pass along for what it’s worth. In 2008, Local 226’s Secretary Treasurer’s D. Taylor’s total take in salary, allowances and expenses is just $41,989, which is remarkably low for that position in a union with receipts in 2008 of $30,241,407. If you dig a bit further you can find that Donald R. Taylor, who I believe is the same guy, is on the payroll of the national union in New York as the Executive Vice President with salary, allowances and expenses of $180,081.

Unfortunately, this is a common practice with union bigwigs. Double dipping salaries from a local to the national is woefully common. In fact, Denholm likens this situation to one from the Ohio Teamsters from 2008.

It is the case of Bill and William Lichtenwald. Bill Lichtenwald is the erstwhile president of Teamsters Local 20 in Toledo, Ohio slaving away night and day defending the rights of working Americans for a mere $97,339 in salary, allowances and expenses in 2008. William Lichtenwald, on the other hand is an International Representative on the payroll of the national union drawing down $87,634 in salary, allowances and expenses in 2008.

When you search the OLMS data base for officer/employee information and you search for Bill Lichtenwald you only get the listing for Local 20. When you search on William Lichtenwald you only get the listing for the national union.

Remarkably, Bill and William turn out to be the same person.

In the signature block on Local 20’s LM-2 it says that the president is “william d lichtenwald.” But on the same form in the block where it lists his compensation he is listed as Bill Lichtenwald.

A cynic could imagine that this was a deliberate attempt to disguise the fact that poor old brother bill was on two payrolls, rather handsomely at that.

What we have here is the all too common sort of corruption where union chiefs find themselves multiple “jobs” in the bowels of union operations where they get compensation that often adds up into the hundreds of thousands of dollars all the while they claim poor while double dipping into the membership’s dues.