The AFL-CIO, Unburdened by Consistency

By April 26, 2005Labor Unions

Way back in December of 2002 — about the same time the Enron and WorldCom scandals were swirling about — the US Department of Labor(DOL) announced that for the first time in 40 years they would update the financial disclosure forms that unions are required to file. These LM-2’s as they are called, are filed annually in an effort to better inform union members as to how their dues are being spent. What a concept. At the time, the DOL noted that the forms as they then stood allowed unions to lump together costs of contract negotiation, administration, organizing, strike benefits, general overhead and political and lobbying expenses. As a result, one union was allowed to note an expenditure of $4 million as “sundry expenses”. The changes sought by DOL, which are to take effect this summer, would require more — you guessed it — transparency and disclosure.

So here comes the AFL-CIO, never ones to be bound by consistency, hoarse from all their screaming about the need for corporate transparency and disclosure, railing against the great corporate Satans to protest the new DOL rules. In fact, they have even sued the Secretary of Labor, lest these evil full disclosure rules take effect. Seems they support transparency and disclosure for everyone but themselves. There’s a great piece in the Wall Street Journal today on this topic entitled, “Big Labor’s Secrets” and noting organized labor’s, uh…what’s a nice word?….inconsistency and touting the benefits of the new rules.

Oh, and here’s a link to the DOL site where you can check out the LM-2’s that are there, and where hopefully you’ll be able to see the new improved forms later this summer.