I saw on Facebook that “For every bottle sold, 18% benefits the IAFF Charitable Foundation.” Since you cannot apparently buy a single bottle, at least online, this is confusing. It raises the question of 18% of what amount? The $99.99 or a lesser sum?
Since the price to buy wine is $99.99 for two bottles we’ll presume that 36% of that $99.99 goes to the Foundation or $36.00, just about 1/3 the cost. (Though that may not be the case.)
If you were writing a $100 check to your charity and you knew that just 36% was actually getting there, you might reconsider.
But here, it must really be about the wine. Or is it?
If management wanted you to participate in a scheme where you forked over $100 for a product or service and 1/3 went to charity you would have some basic and commonsense questions:
- Show me an independent evaluation that proves that the wine you are selling me for $32 a bottle is competitively priced. Prove that it compares favorably with other $32 bottles of wine. That’s not hard to do since evaluating wine is a big business.
- Explain how the $36 that makes its way into the Foundation coffers is being allocated and expended.
- In fact, disclose the fundamentals of the Foundation, including IRS 990 filing information, Foundation paid staff, their qualifications and tenure, and any and all remuneration received by Foundation officers.
Why is it that you would expect and demand such basic due diligence from management but you become apparently giddy when it comes from your union?
(If someone stuck an IAFF decal on their backside would you kiss it?)
- Derriere les Murs
Right now, you are forking over $100 bucks for wine of unverified quality while an unimpressive $36 goes to charity (or what they say is charity.) That means if you itemize and you are in the 28% tax bracket, you get a whopping $10 deduction.
Why not try this: Pick a wine from the award winning vintages below in the $18 range per bottle, buy two bottles at your local store for $36 and make a $64 donation to your charity, just about doubling your deduction.
Great American Wines for $20 or Less (NYT)
Palmina Santa Barbara County Pinot Grigio 2011
Qupe Santa Barbara County Marsanne 2011
Au Bon Climat Santa Barbara County Chardonnay 2010
Ravines Finger Lakes Dry Riesling 2011
Heitz Napa Valley Grignolino 2009
Lenz North Fork of Long Island Merlot 2007
Montinore Estate Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2010
Oberon Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
That’s win/win/win and is exactly what you would do if you were in any other environment.
It has the added and not insubstantial effect of requiring our union to be both competitive and transparent.
We should hold our union to the same standards we hold management: we expect you to be honest and accountable and not float dubious schemes. In other words, don’t take advantage of my loyalty and our presumed relationship.
That’s a position that is good for everyone.