You know, I’ve got enough people haranguing me about things I’ve written to have to deal with things I haven’t written, but the American Federation of Teachers suddenly wants to be sure that everyone knows that AFT President Randi Weingarten only makes $350,000 a year.
The impetus for this disclosure comes from a blog item written by Mike Petrilli on Flypaper yesterday that listed Weingarten’s annual salary as $600,000. In the item he links to the EIA Communiqué of April 14, 2008. This prompted AFT to call for a correction from Petrilli, because Randi Weingarten only makes $350,000 a year. Petrilli then updated the item with “If you follow the link, it goes to Mike Antonucci’s Education Intelligence Agency, where he reports that Randi planned to draw salaries from both the AFT and UFT.”
This prompted AFT to call for a correction from me, because Randi Weingarten only makes $350,000 a year.
I’m happy to oblige, even though I’m not sure what exactly is inaccurate in this six-month-old item. Here it is in full:
Randi Weingarten Makes Her AFT Accession Official. Spilling what was arguably one of the worst-kept secrets in American labor history, United Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten officially announced her candidacy for the presidency of the American Federation of Teachers.
She also made official her intention to continue as UFT president while holding national office. When the New York Daily News remarked that holding both positions would nearly double her annual salary to reach almost $600,000, Weingarten referred to her previous career as a Wall Street attorney and replied, “I took a huge cut in any kind of pay that I was ever going to make in my life to do this job. And so money has never been an issue with me other than to try to champion those causes for my members.”
Weingarten spent three years as an associate for Stroock & Stroock & Lavan. While there is no way to know what career path she might have taken had she not been hired by UFT in 1986, it’s pretty clear how much she would have made had she stayed at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan as an associate. She even mentioned it in a 2004 speech:
“If I were starting out today as a young new attorney in my old firm – Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, I would be starting at $125,000. After eight years as a teacher here in New York, I’d be making $60,700. After eight years in my old law firm, I’d be making a base salary of $215,000.”
A more recent look at the firm’s salary schedule shows a $280,000 level after eight years. Certainly we can generate scenarios in which Weingarten would have made more than $600,000 as an attorney, but in reality she made more money in her first eight years as UFT president than she would have had she spent those eight years as a Wall Street attorney.
If you follow the link, you’ll see that Weingarten told the Daily News that she “hadn’t even thought about the money attached to her potential new role.”
AFT informs me that sometime after my item appeared Weingarten “then told her UFT Delegate Assembly and the AFT Executive Council that she would only draw one salary,” which is only $350,000 a year, split between the United Federation of Teachers and AFT.
I’m flattered to hear that AFT thinks I’m privy to all the details of meetings of the UFT Delegate Assembly and AFT Executive Council, but this is the first I’ve heard of the arrangement. So, for the record, Randi Weingarten does not make $600,000 a year, which is so outrageous a sum it would prompt all sorts of internal unrest. Randi Weingarten only makes $350,000 a year.