|LAS VEGAS - Aug. 19, 1998--Despite having collected more
than $12 million in dues from its members, the Culinary union's financial
records indicate that the union was $1.2 million in debt in 1997, research
by an employee watchdog group has revealed. Nevada Employees for the Right
to Work (NERTW) Wednesday announced that it will make copies of the Culinary
union's financial records for the last three years (1997, 1996, 1995) available
to anyone who wants a copy.
"Our mission is to educate people," said NERTW President Bruce Esgar. "The Culinary, for example, is always ready to point out how businesses make money at the expense of workers and usually point to executive salaries as proof. Imagine our surprise when we found out that Jim Arnold, the `CEO' of the Culinary made over $100,000 in 1997 with a $10,000 expense account."
Esgar noted that the documents also reveal that employees of the Culinary union are making substantial salaries as well. Many of the union representatives made between $30,000 to $45,000 in 1997, with many having expense accounts of up to $5,000.
These records also show that the Culinary spent $674,356 in office and administrative expenses, including $66,952 for auto expenses. "After reviewing the Culinary's finances, we decided the best thing would be to make the information available to the public," Esgar added. "The working people of Las Vegas will make their own decision on whether their union dues are well spent."
Other highlights of the 1997 form include:
"We were surprised to find out that Culinary bosses make two to three times as much as the average hotel worker," said NERTW member Lloyd Wells who studied three years' worth of Culinary salaries. "It turns out that Culinary executives are no different than other company executives."
All labor unions are required to annually file forms known as LM-2s with the Labor Department. On the form, the Culinary is required to list how much they collect in union dues and how they spent the money. "We urge Culinary members to ask the IRS and the Labor Department for their analysis of the union's records and we strongly urge Mr. Arnold to make the union's future financial disclosures available to members and the public," said Esgar.
Anyone interested in picking up copies of the Culinary's financial records for 1997, 1996 and 1995 can come by the NERTW offices Monday through Friday, between 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.; send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to NERTW, 4535 W. Sahara Ave., Suite 108, Las Vegas, Nev. 89102; or call the NERTW at 702/364-0750 for more information.
NERTW is a non-profit organization of working men and women dedicated to educating employees about their rights under the state's Right to Work Law. NERTW is not against unions or opposed to union membership. It hopes, through its educational efforts, to achieve a stronger voice for employees in their dealings with both unions and management.
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