Holding Organized Labor Less Accountable

By October 19, 2007Labor Unions

By a 46-47 vote in the debate over the Labor/HHS appropriations bill (H.R. 3043) the Senate yesterday defeated an amendment sponsored by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) to bring spending on the Office of Labor Management Standards up to the President’s requested level.

The OLMS is the Department of Labor’s office responsible for administering the disclosure and reporting requirements — that is, the laws — that apply to organized labor, working toward accountability and transparency. Unfortunately, the majority had cut the office’s budget by $2 million.

The NAM and other business associations wrote the Senate this week urging a restoration of the funding. (Letter here.)

OLMS is the only agency of government devoted to protecting the interests of dues-paying union members. Yet, at a time when the public and Congress are calling for greater transparency and accountability for all institutions, including corporations, lobbyists, and members of Congress, the FY 2008 House and Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations bills cuts the budget of OLMS to FY 2006 levels.

And on Tuesday, the OLMS released its monthly review.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) today announced its criminal enforcement data for September 2007. During September, OLMS obtained 13 indictments and seven convictions, for a total of 97 indictments and 115 convictions during fiscal year 2007. These indictments and convictions primarily involve union officers and employees who have embezzled union funds resulting in court-ordered restitution back to the unions of more than $31.5 million.

With every other office in the Department of Labor getting increases, why is the OLMS singled out for cuts?

The roll call vote on the Sessions amendment is here. And we see no news coverage of the specific vote.

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