In a step toward greater transparency as the UAW remains mired a federal corruption scandal, the Center for Union Facts, longtime critic of organized labor, launched a website on Thursday to give union members a user-friendly way to view how the union spends its money.
Through the organization’s new website, which it calls UAWAccountability.com, members can navigate a searchable database to view national and local UAW data combed from LM-2 forms filed between 2013 and 2017.
The Office of Labor-Management Standards’ website “is in no way something that I think is easier for people to navigate to without having a lot of advance knowledge of how the data works,” Michael Saltsman, spokesman for the nonprofit run by Washington lobbyist Richard Berman, told Automotive News, “and so observing that I think what we wanted to do was say, look, within one or two clicks, you should be able to see this information.”
The site organizes the union’s expenses by category and total spending per year. Categories include, advocacy, country club, entertainment, hotel, public relations, restaurant, travel, payments to law firms and “swag,” which includes t-shirts, jewelry or gun shop excursions.
In the “Spending Highlights” section, which plucks “particularly large or notable instances” of UAW spending, users can search by key word to access specific details. For example, $14,554 was spent on a yacht rental in 2014, and $6,079 was spent at Joe’s Seafood Prime Steak & Stone Crab in 2016.
“All of this information is already publicly reported and the UAW is proud of this transparency,” UAW spokesman Brian Rothenberg said in a statement emailed to Automotive News.
“The organization doing this is a radical right-wing front group founded by a lobbyist. This information is not new to members as it is already public and available.”
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