Every two weeks, $49.89 is taken out of teachers’ paychecks as UFT dues. Depending on their jobs, other members of the UFT contribute different amounts, ranging from $24.95 for paraprofessionals to $51.08 for psychologists and social workers. For all union members, dues are a flat fee determined by position, not a percentage of their salary.
The union doesn’t spend all of its money every year, or immediately, of course. But because member dues and fees are spent on all facets of the union’s operation, it’s reasonable to track dues to spending. If we did that for the union’s total spending for the 2011-2012 fiscal year ($166,528,712), this is how a teacher’s (then-lower, $49.39) dues payment would have been divided up:
(Scroll over the chart for details and look below the jump for even more information.)
Dues to AFT, NYSUT, and AFL-CIO: A UFT spokesman estimated the breakdown as $26 million to the state teachers union, NYSUT (50 percent, so $7.54 of check), $20 million to the national American Federation of Teachers (or $5.80), and $4 million to the national labor union AFL-CIO ($1.16).
General overhead: These costs include $3,291,946 for electricity, rent, and cleaning services for the union’s conjoined buildings, 50-52 Broadway, and mundane expenses like $115,884 for coffee, sugar, and water and $227,963 to AT&T. Other expeditures: $60,065 on AMC movie tickets for resell to members, and $190,000 to Bill Lynch Associates, a consulting firm that works with Democratic candidates and labor unions.
Representational activities: Most of this money is spent on the “bread and butter work” of the union — legal fees for representing union members with grievances and other issues. It also includes money spent on television and newspaper ads, like the nearly $1.7 million the union spent on TV ads last January and February and $30,000 for ads in the New York Post opposing the city’s teacher evaluation plans. Other spending: $306,500 in dues for the AFL-CIO’s NYC Central Labor Council, and $10,440 spent on buses to the Panel for Educational Policy meeting where officials voted to begin phasing out 22 city schools.
Loan making: This comes mostly from two major loans: a $9.9 million loan that reflects a refinancing of the UFT’s building, and $11.7 million for the UFT charter school.
Benefits for members: This includes money for the UFT Welfare Fund, pensions, death benefits for paraprofessionals, and other retiree benefits. The biggest costs: $5,799,201 for pensions and $2,971,252 for health insurance provider Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield.
Union administration: This includes hotel bills like $798,254 spent at the Hilton Rye Town for chapter leader weekends and other trainings and $462,297 spent at the Hilton in Chicago for conferences, plus $567,152 for electricity, rent, and cleaning services for the union’s conjoined buildings, 50-52 Broadway. Other, perhaps less administrative costs, include $8,765 on UFT tote bags.
Lobbying and political activities: This is money the union spends supporting efforts like Lobby Day (with associated bills for buses, parking, hotels, and buttons), plus catering for phone bank volunteers, buses to rallies across the city, and postage for mailings ($85,790 to one company for mailers and campaign literature). This doesn’t include donations to politicians, which are funded by the Committee on Political Education, the union’s political action arm. Most teachers choose to donate $5 per pay period to COPE.
Taxes: No details.
Contributions, gifts and grants: This is money the union gives to nonprofits, charities and other organizations — not politicians. Some of the biggest winners were Planned Parenthood of NYC ($125,000 donation), Rev. Al Sharpton’s civil rights organization National Action Network ($50,800), the New York City Parents Union ($24,000), and West Indian America Day (a $50,000 sponsorship).
Loan repayment: This comes almost exclusively from a $1.2 million loan repaid to the UFT Educational Foundation, which supports the union’s charter school.
Other purchases: Those purchases are mostly furniture ($210,955), computers ($56,376), property improvements ($401,690), and cars ($68,909).