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Office of Labor-Management Standards
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Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS)


U.S. Department of Labor

Office of Labor-Management Standards
Kansas City Resident Investigator Office
Two Pershing Square Bldg.
2300 Main Street, Suite 1000
Kansas City, MO 64108
(816) 502-0290 Fax: (816) 502-0288






April 29, 2012



Mr. Michael Mitchem, President
Graphic Communications, Local 235
10221 E. 40 Hwy
Independence, MO 64055
Case Number:
LM Number: 028861


Dear Mr. Mitchem

This office has recently completed an audit of Graphic Communications Local 235 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 Recording Secretary/Bookkeeper Arnita Beckett on April 13, 2012, 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.

Recordkeeping Violations

Title II of the LMRDA establishes certain reporting and recordkeeping requirements. Section 206 requires, among other things, that labor organizations maintain adequate records for at least five years by which each receipt and disbursement of funds, as well as all account balances, can be verified, explained, and clarified. As a general rule, labor organizations must maintain all records used or received in the course of union business.

For disbursements, this includes not only original bills, invoices, receipts, vouchers, and applicable resolutions, but also documentation showing the nature of the union business requiring the disbursement, the goods or services received, and the identity of the recipient(s) of the goods or services. In most instances, this documentation requirement can be satisfied with a sufficiently descriptive expense receipt or invoice. If an expense receipt is not sufficiently descriptive, a union officer or employee should write a note on it providing the additional information. For money it receives, the labor organization must keep at least one record showing the date, amount, purpose, and source of that money. The labor organization must also retain bank records for all accounts.

The audit of Local 235’s 2011 records revealed the following recordkeeping violations:

1. General Reimbursed and Credit Card Expenses


Local 235 did not retain adequate documentation for reimbursed expenses and credit card expenses incurred by union officers totaling at least $1,208.29. For example, supporting documentation could not be located for expenses incurred during two trips by former President Byron Austin in the amount of $947.72.

As noted above, labor organizations must retain original receipts, bills, and vouchers for all disbursements. The president and treasurer (or corresponding principal officers) of your union, who are required to sign your union’s LM report, are responsible for properly maintaining union records.

2. Meal Expenses


Local 235 did not require officers and employees to submit itemized receipts for meal expenses totaling at least $184.34. The union must maintain itemized receipts provided by restaurants to officers and employees. These itemized receipts are necessary to determine if such disbursements are for union business purposes and to sufficiently fulfill the recordkeeping requirement of LMRDA Section 206.

Based on your assurance that Local 235 will retain adequate documentation in the future, OLMS will take no further enforcement action at this time regarding the above violations.

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 235 for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2011, was deficient in the following areas:

1. Disbursements to Officers and Employees


Local 235 did not include a $1,000.00 payment to Buy Cruises for former President retirement gift or a number of credit card charges in Schedule 11 (All Officers and Disbursements to Officers). 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 235 did not include in the amounts reported in Schedule 11 (All Officers and Disbursements to Officers) disbursements for the operation and maintenance of union automobiles totaling at least $314.92.

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. Sale of Investments and Fixed Assets


Local 235 did not correctly report receipts from the sale of a 2005 Ford Explorer. The audit revealed that during 2011, the executive board approved for former President to keep his vehicle upon his retirement. The union reported receipts of $5,750.00 from the sale of the automobile in Item 49 and Schedule 3 (Sale of Investments and Fixed Assets). However, the local did not receive any money for this transaction as the automobile was “gifted.”

The LM-2 instructions require that the union report the net amount received from the sale of automobiles in Column E of Schedule 3.

4. Failure to File Bylaws


The audit disclosed a violation of LMRDA Section 201(a), which requires that a union submit a copy of its revised constitution and bylaws with its LM report when it makes changes to its constitution or bylaws. Local 235 amended its constitution and bylaws in 2011, but did not file a copy with its LM report for that year.

Local 235 has now filed a copy of its constitution and bylaws.

I am not requiring that Local 235 file an amended LM report for 2011 to correct the deficient items, but Local 235 has agreed to properly report the deficient items on all future reports it files with OLMS.

I want to extend my personal appreciation to Graphic Communications Local 235 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,




Investigator