Labor Department Calls Out Steelworkers, AFGE

Longtime readers of this publication no doubt have a sense of which unions are most prone to internal theft. The U.S. Department of Labor certainly does. In separate letters dated October 6, the DOL warned United Steelworkers President Thomas Conway and American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) President Everett Kelley that their unions are “disproportionately subject to embezzlement.” Anonymous DOL officials told the Daily Caller News Foundation, which had obtained copies of the letters, that such a step is “very rare.” The two labor organizations, respectively, represent about 575,000 and 323,000 members, and have combined assets worth around $1.4 billion. The action suggests that the department is giving extra attention to monitoring annual financial reports of unions generally.

The United Steelworkers, headquartered in Pittsburgh, has seen its share of thefts in the last couple years. This September, Brian Arnold, former financial secretary for the Elmira, N.Y.-based Steelworkers Local … Read More ➡

Labor Department Seeks Tougher LM-2 Form to Fight Corruption

Despite all the legal disincentives, many of the people running our unions continue to engage in fraud and embezzlement. In response, the U.S. Department of Labor has come up with new forms of prevention. On September 30, the DOL’s Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) unveiled a series of changes to its LM-2 annual reporting document for large unions; i.e., unions taking in at least $250,000 a year. First, these labor organizations must spell out more fully how they pay for assets, hotel stays, restaurants and other items that all too often are hidden under generic categories such as “miscellaneous.” Second, the largest of these unions – those with annual receipts of at least $8 million – must file a new “long form” LM-2. Labor leaders understandably oppose this. But the proposal addresses real financial crimes, which though frequently detected and punished, require more detailed monitoring.   

Annual financial reporting by unions … Read More ➡

Federal Judge Guts DOL Joint Employer Rule; Unions Cheer

Should a company be liable for negotiating a collective bargaining agreement alongside one of its contractors or franchisees even if it doesn’t set any workplace rules? U.S. District Judge Gregory Woods of the Southern District of New York thinks it should. On September 8, Judge Woods struck down a key portion of a rule change finalized in January by the Department of Labor that narrowed the circumstances for assigning an employer ‘joint’ or ‘dual’ status and thus forcing it to collectively bargain. The DOL rule, he concluded, contravened the Fair Labor Standards Act, and was “arbitrary and capricious.” Attorneys general in 17 states and the District of Columbia had filed suit in late February to enjoin enforcement. As a result of the decision, unions have a far wider basis for suing an employer for unfair labor practices.

Union Corruption Update has covered this deceptively crucial issue several times (see hereRead More ➡

Labor Department Issues Final Rule to Halt Union Trust Fund Abuse

Union health, retirement and other benefit funds all too often serve as incubators for fraud and embezzlement. The U.S. Department of Labor, after over 15 years, may be on the verge of realizing an oft-thwarted tool for dramatically reducing these thefts. On March 6, DOL’s Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) published a final rule requiring labor organizations with total annual receipts of at least $250,000 to file a financial report, Form T-1, detailing how their trust funds are spent. “Full disclosure of trust operations gives workers the information they need to make informed choices, and more information means better decisions,” said OLMS Director Arthur Rosenfeld. The regulation is effective April 6. But unions may go to court to block it – something they did twice, and successfully, during the Bush years.

As with any type of organization, labor unions present opportunities for illegal self-enrichment. That’s especially true for their health, … Read More ➡

Will Trump Labor Department Follow Through on Preventing Union Corruption?

The Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, as NLPC readers well know, has identified and helped prosecute much union corruption over the years. But the agency’s efforts would be even better realized if it finalized a pair of dormant rules promised two years ago. The first would establish a new financial reporting form, T-1, requiring unions with at least some private-sector members to disclose financial data for pension funds and other trusts. The second would impose financial reporting upon intermediate-level unions. Each had been proposed during the first term of the Bush presidency but shelved under President Obama. Contrary to frequent assertions from labor leaders, these regulations would not be burdensome. But they are likely to make unions more responsive to dues-paying members.

The Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) is a creation of the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act, also known as the Landrum-Griffin Act, enacted … Read More ➡