Transparency, Labor Style

By February 3, 2009Labor Unions

From the Evergreen Freedom Foundation, January 30:

Over the last eight years the Department of Labor under Secretary Elaine Chao has modernized the reports unions file under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act. These reports are now posted online, and provide union members with detailed information about union income, expenditures, officer salaries, and other financial information. The requirements (initially championed by JFK as a senator) require unions to operate in a transparent fashion with their members. This transparency has helped publicize some questionable spending by union officials, including outlays for equestrian dinner theater, movie tickets, steak dinners, golf outings, and booze.
The Dept. of Labor recently updated the annual disclosure form that most large unions are required to file. One change requires unions to disclose the value of benefits paid to union employees and officers.

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
Employment Standards Administration
29 CFR Parts 403 and 408
RIN 1215–AB62
Labor Organization Annual Financial
Reports
AGENCY: Office of Labor-Management Standards, Employment Standards Administration, Department of Labor.
ACTION: Notice of proposed extension of effective date; request for public comment on legal and policy questions relating to the final rule.
SUMMARY: Consistent with the memorandum of January 20, 2009, from the Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff, entitled ‘‘Regulatory Review’’ and the memorandum of January 21, 2009, from the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), entitled ‘‘Implementation of Memorandum Concerning Regulatory Review,’’ this document seeks public comment on a proposal to delay for 60 days the effective date of the final rule, Labor Organization Annual Financial Reports, published in the Federal Register on January 21, 2009. The rule revised Form LM–2 and established a procedure whereby the Department may
revoke, when warranted, the authorization to file the simplified report Form LM–3. This document proposes to extend the effective date until April 21, 2009. The Department seeks comments on whether or not it
should delay the effective date of the final rule in order to provide an opportunity for further review and
consideration of the questions of law and policy raised by it. For that reason,
the Department also seeks comments
generally on the rule, including
comments on the merits of rescinding or
retaining the rule.
DATES: Labor Organization Annual
Financial Reports, published in the
Federal Register on January 21, 2009
(74 FR 3677), is to take effect on

February 20, 2009. The comment period
for the extension of the effective date of
the final rule will close on February 13,
2009. The comment period for
providing comment on legal and policy
questions relating to the rule itself will
close on March 5, 2009.
ADDRESSES: You may submit comments,
identified by RIN 1215–AB62, only by
the following methods:
Internet—Federal eRulemaking Portal.
Electronic comments may be submitted
through http://www.regulations.gov. To
locate the proposed rule, use key words
such as ‘‘Labor-Management Standards’’
or ‘‘Labor Organization Annual
Financial Reports’’ to search documents
accepting comments. Follow the
instructions for submitting comments.
Please be advised that comments
received will be posted without change
to http://www.regulations.gov, including
any personal information provided.
Delivery: Comments should be sent to:
Denise M. Boucher, Director of the
Office of Policy, Reports and Disclosure,
Office of Labor-Management Standards,
U.S. Department of Labor, 200
Constitution Avenue, NW., Room N–
5609, Washington, DC 20210. Because
of security precautions the Department
continues to experience delays in U.S.
mail delivery. You should take this into
consideration when preparing to meet
the deadline for submitting comments.
The Office of Labor-Management
Standards (OLMS) recommends that
you confirm receipt of your delivered
comments by contacting (202) 693–0123
(this is not a toll-free number).
Individuals with hearing impairments
may call (800) 877–8339 (TTY/TDD).
Only those comments submitted
through http://www.regulations.gov,
hand-delivered, or mailed will be
accepted. Comments will be available
for public inspection at http://
www.regulations.gov and during normal
business hours at the above address.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Denise M. Boucher, Director, Office of
Policy, Reports and Disclosure, Office of
Labor-Management Standards,
Employment Standards Administration,
U.S. Department of Labor, 200
Constitution Avenue, NW., Room N–
5609, Washington, DC 20210, (202) 693–
0123 (this is not a toll-free number),
(800) 877–8339 (TTY/TDD).
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The
Department has determined that the rule
involves matters of law and policy that
should be addressed by the new
Administration before the rule takes
effect and is first applied to labor
organizations. The Department has
chosen to seek public comments now,
rather than permit the rule to go into
effect, due to the front end burdens
associated with the rule. Without this
proposal to delay the effective date,
affected labor organizations likely will
undertake much effort and expense in
changing their recordkeeping systems to
meet the changes required by the rule.
If a decision is made to propose changes
and such changes are ultimately
effectuated, these expenses will have
been incurred unnecessarily. The tasks
undertaken will have to be repeated,
and costs duplicated, to comply with
any further revisions to the rule.
Additionally, the Department itself will
incur significant start up costs in
revising its electronic software to make
the changes required by the rule; costs
that will have to be duplicated if
changes are later proposed and
effectuated in a final rule. Furthermore,
unless the Department now proposes to
delay the effective date of the rule, the
Department will have to begin
answering questions and providing
compliance assistance about how the
final rule is to be implemented,
guidance that will only confuse labor
organizations if new guidance about a
revised rule has to be provided in the
near future. For the foregoing reasons,
the Department has determined to
propose delay of the effective date of the
final rule and, by doing so, alert affected
labor organizations that it may be
advisable for them to delay preparations
and financial commitments associated
with the changes required by the final
rule until a decision is made regarding
the effective date of the final rule. The
Department proposes the delay of the
effective date to provide an opportunity
for further review and consideration of
the questions of law and policy raised
by it. For that reason, the Department
also seeks comments generally on the
rule, including comments on the merits
of rescinding or retaining the rule.
Dated: January 29, 2009.
Andrew D. Auerbach,
Deputy Director, Office of Labor-Management
Standards.
[FR Doc. E9–2223 Filed 1–29–09; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 4510–CP–P

The previous order is available here.

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