Holding Organized Labor Accountable

By March 6, 2008Labor Unions

Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao testifies this morning before the House Appropriations Committee, the Labor subcommittee, on her department’s 2009 budget. We trust she’ll make the good case for an expanded budget for the Office of Labor Management Standards, the office that monitors whether labor unions comply with federal laws governing the proper use of union members’ funds. Think accountability, transparency…

As this all-too-lengthy summary of OLMS enforcement actions in 2007 indicates, there does seem to be a bit of a problem when it comes to things like embezzlement and misuse of funds.

Last year, President Bush and the Department of Labor’s budget called for increasing tohe OLMS budget by $9 million to $57 million. But once organized labor called in its chits, pulled its strings, unveiled its veiled threats, Congress actually reduced the office’s budget by nearly $3 million. (Previous Shopfloor.org posts here.) Think accountability, transparency…and then think about getting less of it.

If Congress were making wholescale cuts, reducing budgets to trim government spending, well, OK. But where else were budgets actually cut?

The President’s FY09 budget takes another run at increasing the Office of Labor Management Standard’s budget, going to $58.3 million, including $8 million to bring OLMS back to its previous size and effectiveness. (For Labor’s budget summary for OLMS in .pdf format, click here.)

The Office of Labor Management Standards protects union members and ensures their dues are spent properly.

Or, to take rhetorical inspiration from the unions themselves: Cutting the OLMS budget is anti-worker. People who support cutting its budget are anti-worker. They don’t care for workers. They are undermining worker democracy. Why do they hate workers?

The spending history:


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