This article originally appeared on watchdog.org.
Teachers union presidents Randi Weingarten and Lily Eskelsen Garcia claim to speak for American workers, but collect huge salaries from the very educators they accuse taxpayers of shortchanging.
Weingarten was paid $543,150 in 2013 as president of American Federation of Teachers, while Eskelsen Garcia was paid $347,751 as vice president of National Education Association.
“Together, by being member-mobilized, community-engaged, solution-driven and, yes, a little bad ass, we can reclaim the promise of America,” AFT asserted this week in a Labor Day statement. “We can create a nation fueled by democracy, justice and opportunity for all, instead of for the very few.”
“In unity,” closed the AFT statement, released in Weingarten’s name.
AFT Secretary-Treasurer Lorretta Johnson, a co-signer of the union’s Labor Day message, was paid $353,097 in 2013.
Meanwhile, an ongoing AFT “Reclaiming the Promise” campaign implores Americans to “Stand with Working People.”
“We are being ripped off,” an AFT pledge form insists, warning about “slashed” public education spending and public services being “privatized and cut to the bone.”
“Corporations and billionaires blame educators, public employees and workers for the broken economy,” the AFT form explains. “They sell austerity as the answer, while they buy elections, push radical legislation and fund court cases to strip workers of our rights.”
“They won’t stop until unions are broken and their own power and profits are unopposed,” AFT adds.
“This #laborday, the struggle continues,” attested Weingarten — whose 2013 salary plus reimbursements of $543,150 was less than the $556,981 she received the year before — in a Sept. 1 tweet linking to a story at The Nation.
When confronted about her 2013 pay as disclosed to the U.S. Department of Labor by AFT, Weingarten has insisted her salary is only $360,000. AFT reported “Gross Salary Disbursements” of $401,578 to Weingarten last year.
“The story of America is the story of its working people — their struggles and successes and their hopes for a better future for themselves and their families,” former NEA president Dennis Van Roekel said in a 2013 Labor Day statement. “On Labor Day, and every day, we celebrate their contributions to our society, those struggles and successes, including those of public school workers.”
Van Roekel was paid $411,172, taken from public school workers, last year.
Garcia has taken over $240,000 per year from NEA members and forced “fair share” fee payers every year since 2007.
In a blog post this February, Garcia slammed school choice vouchers that give poor families options outside of union-dominated public schools as “one of the more shameful and shakiest pillars of school reform nincompoopery.”
This Labor Day, Eskelsen Garcia visited with President Obama and his staff on Air Force One. She gave the president a copy of Rabble Rousers, her book about “social justice.”