Transparency for Labor, a Good Thing

By May 12, 2008Labor Unions

The Department of Labor today has published proposed rules for expanding the disclosure requirements for labor unions, affecting Form LM-2, which is used by unions with annual receipts of at least $250,000. From the news release:

Changes being proposed include disclosing the amount spent on benefits for individual union officers and certain union employees, reporting indirect disbursements to officers and employees, itemizing certain receipts of $5,000 or more, and disclosing the identity of the purchaser or seller in transactions involving union assets. All the proposed changes will bring further clarity to the Form LM-2 by improving disclosure in these areas. The proposed rule also increases accountability by establishing a fair procedure, including due process rights for the union, for revoking a privilege of filing a simplified annual LM-3 report instead of the more detailed LM-2.

The proposed rules were published in today’s Federal Register, and you can access them here.

The Examiner editorializes in favor of the rules, drawing the link between transparency and accountability:

Among other things, the proposed rule adds a provision covering benefits paid to union officers and employees such as pensions, deferred compensation and life insurance. Currently, only gross salary, allowances, outlays for official business and assorted other disbursements to individual officers and employees exceeding $10,000 annually need to be disclosed.

Closing this loophole will enhance the ability of union members to have timely and accurate information about how union leaders and employees are being compensated. Without such information, it is difficult to assess whether the interests of members are being well-served by those representing them in the union leadership.

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