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Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS)



U.S. Department of Labor

Employment Standards Administration
Office of Labor-Management Standards
St. Louis District Office
1222 Spruce Street, Room 9.109E
St. Louis, MO 63103
(314) 539-2667 Fax: (314) 539-2626


December 15, 2009

 

Mr. Thomas Caliper, Treasurer
Plumbers AFL-CIO
Local 551
1105 West Elm Street
West Frankfort, IL 62896

LM File Number 003-178
Case Number: ||||||||||

Dear Mr. Caliper:

This office has recently completed an audit of Plumbers Local 551 under the Compliance Audit Program (CAP) to determine your organization’s compliance with the provisions of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (LMRDA). As discussed during the exit interview with you and Office Secretary Sue Williams on January 15, 2009, the following problems were disclosed during the CAP. The matters listed below are not an exhaustive list of all possible problem areas since the audit conducted was limited in scope.

Reporting Violations

The audit disclosed a violation of LMRDA Section 201(b), which requires labor organizations to file annual financial reports accurately disclosing their financial condition and operations. The Labor Organization Annual Report Form LM-2 filed by Local 551 for fiscal year ending June 30, 2008, was deficient in the following areas:

1. Disbursements to Officers and Employees

Local 551 did not include some reimbursements to officers and employees totaling $1,423.10 and payments to employees totaling $255 in Schedule 11 (All Officers and Disbursements to Officers) and Schedule 12 (Disbursements to Employees). It appears that the local erroneously reported these payments in Schedules 15 through 19.

The union must report in Column F of Schedules 11 and 12 (Disbursements for Official Business) direct disbursements to officers and employees for reimbursement of expenses they incurred while conducting union business. In addition, the union must report in Column F of Schedules 11 and 12 indirect disbursements made to another party (such as a credit card company) for business expenses union personnel incur. However, the union must report in Schedules 15 through 19 indirect disbursements for business expenses union personnel incur for transportation by public carrier (such as an airline) and for temporary lodging expenses while traveling on union business. The union must report in Column G (Other Disbursements) of Schedules 11 and 12 any direct or indirect disbursements to union personnel for expenses not necessary for conducting union business.

2. Automobile Expenses

Local 551 did not include in the amounts reported in Schedule 11 (All Officers and Disbursements to Officers) and Schedule 12 (Disbursements to Employees) disbursements for the operation and maintenance of your union automobile.

The LM-2 instructions provide two methods for reporting automobile-related expenses. The union must report in Schedules 11 and 12 direct and indirect disbursements for the operation and maintenance of union owned and leased vehicles and the operation and maintenance of vehicles owned by union personnel (including gasoline, repairs, and insurance). The union may divide the expenses and report them in Columns F and G based on miles driven for union business (supported by mileage logs) compared with miles driven for personal use.

Alternatively, rather than allocating the expenses between Columns F and G, if 50 percent or more of an officer's or an employee's use of a vehicle was for official business, the union may report all of the expenses relative to the vehicle assigned to the officer or employee in Column F of Schedule 11 or 12 with an explanation in Item 69 (Additional Information) that the officer or employee used the vehicle part of the time for personal business. Similarly, if a vehicle assigned to an officer or employee was used less than 50 percent of the time for business, all of the expenses relative to that vehicle may be reported in Column G with an explanation in Item 69 that the officer or employee used the vehicle partly for official business.
3. Rent Receipts

The local collected rent income totaling approximately $64,500 during the fiscal year. The LM-2 report does not reflect any receipts from rent. The LM-2 instructions state the total amount of rents received should be reported in Item 42 (Rents) on Statement B of the report. You acknowledged this item was not properly reported and agreed to include rent receipts in the proper category on the next LM-2 report submitted by your organization.

I am not requiring that Local 551 file an amended LM report for 2008 to correct the deficient items, but Local 551 has agreed to properly report the deficient items on all future reports it files with OLMS.

Other Violation

The audit disclosed the following other violation:

Inadequate Bonding

The audit revealed a violation of LMRDA Section 502 (Bonding), which requires that union officers and employees be bonded for no less than 10 percent of the total funds those individuals or their predecessors handled during the preceding fiscal year.

Local 551’s officers and employees are currently bonded for $65,000, but they must be bonded for at least $91,740. Local 551 should obtain adequate bonding coverage for its officers and employees immediately. Please provide proof of bonding coverage to this office as soon as possible, but not later than February 13, 2009.

I want to extend my personal appreciation to Plumbers Local 551 for the cooperation and courtesy extended during this compliance audit. I strongly recommend that you make sure this letter and the compliance assistance materials provided to you are passed on to future officers. If we can provide any additional assistance, please do not hesitate to call.

Sincerely,

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Investigator