Transparency for Organized Labor

By January 12, 2009Labor Unions

The Office of Labor-Management Standards is the arm of the Department of Labor that monitors and enforces union compliance with the federal Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act. Organized labor absolutely hates the accountability that OLMS brings and will try to have it gutted in the new Administration.

Think we exaggerate union animosity? See this testimony from Arlene Holt Baker, executive vice president AFL-CIO, before the Appropriations Committee’s labor subcommittee, March 13, 2008:

Finally, we would like to address the efforts of the Department of Labor, under this administration, to harass, intimidate, and persecute unions and union activists who seek to engage in the lawful pursuit of representative duties. Despite its cuts in programs protecting workers, the Bush administration continues to seek funding increases in its FY 2009 budget for programs that audit, investigate and prosecute unions. New and proposed DOL reporting requirements dramatically increase the time, effort and expense to labor unions, their officers and employees of complying with disclosure requirements.

Our emphasis.

The OLMS has released its summary of 2008 activities. Highlights from the news release, “Office of Labor-Management Standards Obtains 131 Indictments, 103 convictions and Restitution of $3.2 Million in FY 2008“:

Criminal Case Enforcement
The Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) establishes criminal penalties for certain violations, such as embezzlement, filing false reports, keeping false records, destruction of records, extortionate picketing and deprivation of rights by violence. In fiscal year 2008, OLMS completed 391 criminal cases. OLMS also obtained 131 indictments, a 32 percent increase from 2001, and 103 convictions, returning to FY 2001 levels. In addition, in FY 2008, restitution was made or ordered to be paid amounting to $ 3,244,605.

Compliance Audits
To detect embezzlement of union funds and other criminal and civil violations of the LMRDA, OLMS depends on compliance audits and investigations. In FY 2004, increased staffing enabled OLMS to establish a new unit with the express mission of increasing OLMS audit presence in international unions, thus enhancing compliance with the LMRDA. As a result of the creation of the international compliance audit team, OLMS completed 7 compliance audits of international unions, which is an increase from 1 in FY 2001. Increased staffing in field offices also allowed the agency to expand its local union audit program, which had been in steady decline as resources had been reduced over the previous decade. Despite recent budget and staffing retrenchment, OLMS completed 791 compliance audits in FY 2008, a 232 percent increase from FY 2001.

You see, to organized labor, using card check to intimidate unwilling employees into joining a union, that’s “democracy.” Enforcing the laws against embezzlement, criminal threats and depriving union members of their rights, that’s just government trying to “harass, intimidate and persecute unions.”

(Hat tip: John J. Miller)

By Carter Wood

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