Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS)
U.S. Department of Labor
Office of Labor-Management Standards
Buffalo District Office
130 South Elmwood Street, Suite 510
Buffalo, NY 14202-2465
(716) 842-2900 Fax: (716) 842-2901
June 3, 2013
Ms. Rosalyn Hoover, Financial Secretary
United Steelworkers, AFL-CIO
Local Union 13833
2302 Tuscarora Road
Niagara Falls, NY 14304
Case Number: 120-09259()
LM Number: 067-199
Dear Ms. Hoover:
This office has recently completed an audit of United Steelworkers, AFL-CIO 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 Treasurer Sharon Plunkett and you on May 15, 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 Local 13833’s 2012 records revealed the following recordkeeping violations:
1. General Disbursements
Local 13833 did not retain adequate documentation for at least one expenditure during the period totaling $940. The union failed to retain an adequate receipt for a check issued payable to 1341 Pizza Company for the said amount.
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 13833’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. For example, a lunch reimbursed to Trustee Anibal Sepulveda failed to include the names of the individuals present at the meal. Union records of meal expenses must include written explanations 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.
3. Reimbursed Auto Expenses
Union officers and employees who received reimbursement for business use of their personal vehicles did not retain adequate documentation to support payments to them on a few occasions during 2012, specifically that the starting and ending locations were not recorded. The union must maintain records which identify the dates of travel, locations traveled to and from, and number of miles driven. The record must also show the business purpose of each use of a personal vehicle for business travel by an officer or employee who was reimbursed for mileage expenses.
Based on your assurance that Local 13833 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 (Form LM-3) filed by Local 13833 for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2012, was deficient in the following area:
Disbursements to Officers
Local 13833 did not include some reimbursements to officers totaling at least $1,625 in the amounts reported Item 24 (All Officers and Disbursements to Officers). It appears the union erroneously reported these payments in either Item 48 (Office & Administrative Expense) or Item 54 (Other Disbursements).
The union must report most direct disbursements to Local 13833 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.
I am not requiring that Local 13833 file an amended LM report for 2012 to correct the deficient items, but Local 13833 has agreed to properly report the deficient items on all future reports it files with OLMS.
I want to extend my personal appreciation to Steelworkers Local 13833 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: Ms. Sharon Plunkett, Treasurer