So, I've been thumbing through a copy of the confidential AFL-CIO budget that was just approved by the Executive Committee, and is headed for a vote before the full Executive Council on June 27th in Chicago. I'll have more to say about the budget in the next few days but, for now, I want an apology...of course, I don't expect to get one but it does make you sit up, huh?
Back in April, I obtained budget figures showing the AFL-CIO had been running down its reserves and had been running a deficit. John Sweeney denied that was the case, including during a press conference with reporters (he criticized rumors on "the web," calling them "...ridiculous and irresponsible").
Well, it turns out the numbers I posted were precisely on the mark. It's one thing to stiff-arm pesky bloggers but you gotta give the straight facts in a budget (it's a kind of requirement under the law...you know, false accounting statements get people put in jail). For the 2004-2005 budget year, the Federation ran a deficit of $2.4 million, which was actually about $600,000 more of a deficit than had been predicted.
As important, the reserves of the Federation have been declining steadily. In 1996, they stood at $56.3 million. By the end of 2004, the reserves were down to $30.9 million.
I say now what I said then: there may be perfectly good reasons for the decline in the reserves. But, to pretend it hasn't happened and to deny that it isn't a serious, dramatic worsening of the Federation's long-term financial picture is just nonsense.