Unions like to present themselves as similar to a nonprofit organization, working for the benefit of those they supposedly represent. One of the best ways to evaluate the trustworthiness of a nonprofit is to look at the percentage of total spending that goes directly into their stated programs, versus what they spend on running the organization.

Charity watchdogs like the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance and the Charity Review Council say this percentage should be no lower than 65%.

The average spending on programs of the top 100 charities in the country, according to the Forbes Top Charities list for 2021, was 87% – far above the minimum.

The image above is a list of how some well-known nonprofits stack up to this measure.

Did the AFSCME even come close?

Hardly!  According to their own financial statement, the AFSCME posted total income of almost $137 Million in 2021, yet spent only 21% on Representational Activities. The rest was spent on salaries, benefits and perks, office space and equipment, politics, taxes, and other overhead expenses.  The exact opposite of organizations whose stated purpose is to help people.

An old adage reminds us to “choose our friends wisely.”

Because AFSCME is a union of predominantly municipal and federal employees, most people don’t associate the AFSCME with corruption. However, a quick glance back over the last 20 years or so paints a different picture – a picture of the same misuse of union members’ dues money and illegal or corrupt activities that taints other unions. Just a few headlines (click on the headline to read the story):

Hypocrisy, Corruption and Politicking at one of LA’s Largest Labor Unions

City Workers’ Union Taken Over by National Parent After Audit Finds Improprieties

Cloud of corruption around Democrats’ union patron



Data from 2001 to 2021. Click image to see the source.