Archive for August, 2011


August 26, 2011

According to its 2010 report to the labor department, national AFGE has $47,246,000 in assets and $67,172,00 in liabilities, meaning it is $20 million in the hole.

In contrast, the federation’s locals and councils collectively have over $65 million in net assets (total assets minus total liabilities).

The following chart shows the actual reported assets and liabilities for each local and council with more than $200,000 in the bank, and then estimates of total assets for the groups of locals with between $100,000 and $200,000, with between $50,000 and $100,000, and with between $0 and $50,000. In each of those groups the actual liabilities for its components are added up. For each group and for the total, the net assets are the assets minus liabilities.  To see the chart, click on the following:


I plan to discuss the significance of this in later blogs.

Why locals don’t try to increase membership

August 25, 2011

A very common response by local leaders to suggestions to increase membership is that this is merely an effort to get more money into the national’s treasury. These leaders correctly figure that, given the way they’ve been taught to represent their bargaining units, higher membership will not benefit either the leadership or the bargaining unit employees.

What this actually means is that these leaders have been mis-educated and misled. A local union cannot achieve the goals it ought to without the participation and support of a strong majority of the employees in the bargaining unit. With, say, 30% membership, the local is forced to settle for a role that is pathetically weaker than the labor-relations law originally presumed unions would play.

Until a local decides to bargain from a position of strength, and gets the training on how to do this, it probably does make sense to not make any effort to substantially increase the local’s membership.