AFSCME 2620, the union that claims to represent around 5,000 health and social services professionals throughout the state of California, has an important job.
Given the COVID-19 outbreak and the accompanying increase in depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts brought on by government-mandated lockdowns, AFSCME 2620 is in the position of providing essential service to people providing essential services to all of us.
As unions go, AFSCME 2620 is on the small side, bringing in around $4.4 million in membership dues during 2017 — the last year an IRS form 990 is publicly available.
On average, its members pay $880 each year in membership dues.
However, you might be surprised to discover that, according to the IRS Form 990 filed that same year by AFSCME 2620, the organization spent just $17,942 on direct membership representation costs. (Part 9, line 24, subsection D).
During the same time period, AFSCME 2620 sent more than $72,000 to the AFSCME Local 2620 PAC for political purposes.
On average, AFSCME 2620 spent 4.6 times more on politics than its own members in 2017.
It doesn’t stop there. AFSCME 2620 spent more than $1 million on travel expenses and sent more than $2.4 million in payments to affiliate unions. In other words, more than 54 percent of the union’s budget is sent away to another union that will never set foot in its dues-payers’ workplace or represent their interests.
According to AFSCME 2620’s own records, the union spent just .004 percent of its total budget actually representing dues-payers.
Instead of paying $880 during 2017, AFSCME 2620 members could have paid just $3.52 and apparently received the same level of representation.
Giving AFSCME 2620 the benefit of the doubt, let’s assume it’s occasionally necessary to spend more than $225,000 on union staffer salaries and benefits, as AFSCME 2620 did in 2017. Let’s also assume the $486,000 spent reimbursing the state for union leave time during the same period is also necessary to achieving quality representation.
Adding these together with the direct representation costs, we come up with a figure of $728,942.
Split among their 5,000 members, each member could have paid only $145.79 for an entire year of representation.
It might sound like a pipe dream but, believe it or not, there are local-only associations that do not affiliate with these massive national unions and charge even less than this for the same level of representation AFSCME gives its members.
AFSCME 2620 dues-payers may not mind paying the nearly 600 percent markup for representation, but it’s far more likely they simply don’t know.
And the union is working day and night to keep it that way.