To give credit where it’s due, the Kansas City Star has revisited the account books of the Kansas City, Kansas-based Boilermakers and found them as eye-popping as ever.
In 2012, the Star had investigated the union–officially the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers–and reported how excessive were the salaries and benefits of union leaders and their families. The $124,000 payday for the president’s son raised eyebrows even in a town that empowered the Roy Williams-Nick Civella Teamster cartel.
After some minor course corrections, the Star found that the Boilermakers union had returned to business as usual, which had less to do with making boilers than making the brass rich.
If the enrollment is shrinking, the salaries are not. The base salary of Newton Jones, union president, has increased nearly 50 percent in the last three years to $435,240. In that same time period his total disbursements — salary plus expenses—increased more than 50 percent to $756,973. in fact, more than fifty union officials are payed six-figure salaries, with the top seven averaging more than $500,000 each in disbursements.
This is so over the top,” Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, told the Star. “It really tells you that there aren’t the kinds of checks and balances that are supposed to be there.”
Newton is apparently not the only Jones living well off the Boilermakers union. The union also employs his wife, brother and son.
In 2012, union leaders defended the practice of hiring relatives. “Those who work in our trade often do so because it is what their fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers did,” the union told the Star. “It is quite common for working members — and their leaders — to have relatives employed in the industry at various levels.”