Organized Labor: Scrutinize Them, Not Us!

By August 27, 2007Labor Unions

From The Financial Week:

The AFL-CIO wants auditors to step up their reviews of corporate books and records in order to curb illegal stock option backdating.

In letters to the Big Four accounting firms, AFL-CIO treasurer Richard Trumka said independent auditors should dig deeper into corporate disclosures and stock option practices from the past five years—especially during the months surrounding passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which tightened disclosure rules for backdating.

Meanwhile, the Heritage Foundation’s Robert Bluey reminds us that labor and their congressional allies are trying to slash the budget for the Office of Labor Management Standards, the Department of Labor office that in recent years increased its oversight of union spending and disclosures.

The increased transparency has revealed some embarrassing expenditures for unions, such as the $1.9 million spent by the International Association of Machinists on its very own Lear jet. But while transparency is a good thing for union members who expect good stewardship from their leaders, it has met resistance on Capitol Hill, where many liberals count on union leaders for fundraising help.

Bluey notes that Rep. John Kline of Minnesota introduced an amendment to restore $2 million back to the office. No go.

Citing the agency’s success in winning restitution for union workers, Kline said, “Some of my colleagues may dismiss these monetary results as just small change compared to the billions of assets held by labor unions, but they miss the point. Stealing from your fellow union members is against the law, regardless of whether the theft is $10,000 or $100,000. And anywhere in the country but Washington, D.C., $10,000 is a lot of money.”

Apparently some forms of malefaction aren’t worth worrying about, at least judging by the AFL-CIO’s curious standards.

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • leftcoast says:

    Go dred…

    To add, there is the ridiculous whining about the
    “onerous” requirements for corporate filings. Unions are accountable to their members. Corporations are (or at least should be) accoutable to their boards, presidents, customers, employees and stockholders. That is a big difference. And why are these “more onerous” requirements there? Because corporations have proven to be completely untrustworthy. Yes, there will always be theft and dishonesty, but it always seems to be more and on a larger scale at places like Enron, doesn’t it? Even though you have all the power, you are not satisfied until things are rolled back to the 18th century with no unions, no workers protection laws, and heck, you probably find those pesky child-labor laws “onerous” too, don’t you?

  • dred says:

    This is the best you have?

    You run an ad on the front of the NYT and you link this as your top article and this is the best you can do with it?

    Let’s just think about this for a second. Executives are taking billions of dollars out of corporations by using backdating of options (thereby dropping their cost and strike price and leaving a hole in earnings to make up for these unidentified income perks to the executive class. Further leaving shareholders with a nasty surprise when it turns out that earnings weren’t as expected because of this theft, and mean while allowing the corporation to underreport the discrepancy in incomes between labor and management, which puts downward pressure on labor wages by increasing management compensation).

    This you want to compare to $2MM for a private jet for union leaders. In these days of airport delay and harassment not to mention the additional time it takes to fly and the perceived danger of flying the skys of terror. Corporations across the nation are making an economic based investment in private jets, but Unions are not supposed to make the same calculation and buy a jet?

    Your argument is pathetic. I’m disappointed in your efforts and I hope the corporate and political interests that see your efforts are equally disappointed and pull their funding from your boondoggle.

    On the other hand I hope they continue to waste their moneu on such a transparent insult to the intellect of the American worker.

Leave a Reply