Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS)
U.S. Department of Labor
Office of Labor-Management Standards
Boston District Office
JFK Federal Building, Suite E-365
Boston, MA 02203
(617) 624-6690 Fax: (617) 624-6606
July 10, 2013
Mr. Thomas Norris, Treasurer
Utility Workers Local 329
170 Morgan Road
Whitinsville, MA 01588
Case Number: 110-17651
LM Number: 048182
Dear Mr. Norris:
This office has recently completed an audit of Utility Workers Local 329 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 President Joseph Arcudi on July 8, 2013, 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.
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 Utility Workers Council 329’s 2012 records revealed the following recordkeeping violations:
1. Meal Expenses
Local 329’s records of meal expenses did not always include written explanations of union business conducted or the names and titles of the persons incurring the restaurant charges. Local 329 had disbursements for food/meals totaling approximately $352.32 for which the receipts were not documented with the names of members participating in the meal or the union purpose for the expense or the name of the restaurant. Union records of meal expenses must include written explanation of the union business conducted and the full names and titles of all persons who incurred the restaurant charges. Also, the records retained must identify the names of the restaurants where the officers or employees incurred meal expenses.
2. Lost Wages
Local 329 did not retain adequate documentation for lost wage payments made to the employer on behalf of union officers/members totaling at least $26,100.37. The union must maintain records in support of lost wage claims that identify each date lost wages were incurred, the number of hours lost on each date, the applicable rate of pay, and a description of the union business conducted. The OLMS audit found that Local 329 did retain the employer labor billable invoices for all lost wages paid by the local.
During the exit interview, I provided a sample expense voucher Local 329 may use to satisfy this requirement. The sample identifies the type of information and documentation that the local must maintain for lost wages and other expenses.
3. General Reimbursed and Credit Card Expenses
Local 329 did not retain adequate documentation for reimbursed expenses and credit card expenses incurred by union officers totaling $1,208.48.
As previously 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.
Based on your assurance that Utility Workers Council 329 will retain adequate documentation in the future, OLMS will take no further enforcement action at this time regarding the above 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 LM-3 filed by Utility Workers Council 329 for fiscal year ending April 30, 2012, was deficient in the following areas:
1. Disbursements to Officers
Local 329 did not include some reimbursements to officers totaling at least $1,762 in the amounts reported in Item 24 (All Officers and Disbursements to Officers). It appears the union erroneously reported these payments in Item 48 (Office and Administrative Expense).
The union must report most direct disbursements to Local 329 officers and some indirect disbursements made on behalf of its officers in Item 24. A "direct disbursement" to an officer is a payment made to an officer in the form of cash, property, goods, services, or other things of value. See the instructions for Item 24 for a discussion of certain direct disbursements to officers that do not have to be reported in Item 24. An "indirect disbursement" to an officer is a payment to another party (including a credit card company) for cash, property, goods, services, or other things of value received by or on behalf of an officer. However, indirect disbursements for temporary lodging (such as a union check issued to a hotel) or for transportation by a public carrier (such as an airline) for an officer traveling on union business should be reported in Item 48 (Office and Administrative Expense).
2. Lost Wages
Local 329 did not report Labor Billable (Lost Wages) paid to the employer on behalf of the union officers and members conducting union business in Item 24 D (Officers Gross Salary) and Item 46 (Employees) totaling $26,100.37. It appears that the local erroneously reported these payments in Item 54 (Other).
3. Acquire/Dispose of Property
Item 13 (During the reporting period did your organization acquire or dispose of any assets in any manner other than by purchase or sale?) should have been answered, “Yes,” because the union gave away shirts and calendars totaling $7,321.24 during the year. The union must identify the type and value of any property received or given away in the additional information section of the LM report along with the identity of the recipient(s) or donor(s) of such property. The union does not have to itemize every recipient of such giveaways by name. The union can describe the recipients by broad categories if appropriate such as “members” or “new retirees.” In addition the union must report the cost, book value, and trade-in allowance for assets traded in.
4. Cash Reconciliation
It appears that the cash figures reported in Item 25 are not the cash figures according to the union’s books as reconciled to the bank statements. The instructions for Item 25 state that the union should obtain account balances from its books as reconciled to the balances shown on the bank statements.
Local 329 must file an amended Form LM-3 for fiscal year ending April 30, 2012, to correct the deficient items discussed above. I advised you that the reporting forms and instructions are available on the OLMS website (www.olms.dol.gov). The amended Form LM-3 should be submitted to this office at the above address as soon as possible, but not later than August 12, 2013. Before filing, review the report thoroughly to be sure it is complete, accurate, and signed properly with original signatures.
The audit disclosed the following other violation:
The audit revealed a violation of LMRDA Section 502 (Bonding), which requires the 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 329’s officers are currently bonded for $25,000, but they must be bonded for at least $26,600. Local 329 should obtain adequate bonding coverage for its officers immediately. Please provide proof of bonding coverage to this office as soon as possible, but not later than August 12, 2013.
I want to extend my personal appreciation to Utility Workers Council Local 329 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.
cc: Mr. Joseph Arcudi, President