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Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS)

OLMS News

Number: 01-07

January 17, 2007

OLMS Establishes Program to Review Union Constitutions and Bylaws

The Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) has established a Union Advisory Services program to provide enhanced advisory support and compliance assistance to labor organizations at the national, intermediate, and local levels. This support and assistance is intended to promote union democracy, transparency, and financial integrity under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA).

The program will address three common problems which unions frequently encounter under the LMRDA or the Civil Service Reform Act (CSRA) in the case of Federal-employee unions. The first problem is that of union constitutions and bylaws which do not conform to the LMRDA or the CSRA. OLMS will review union constitutions and bylaws to determine if any provisions conflict with the law. They will advise unions of any changes needed to bring conflicting provisions into compliance with the LMRDA or the CSRA.

A second problem is that unions do not always file their latest constitutions and bylaws with the Labor Department when they are amended, as required by law. The advisory program will ensure that DOL has an up-to-date copy of every union's constitution and bylaws for disclosure on the OLMS public disclosure web site at www.union-reports.dol.gov.

If an LMRDA-covered union's constitution and bylaws do not fully explain the union's policy relating to 13 issues specified in the Act, the union must file detailed statements with the Department of Labor with the union's Form LM-1 describing those policies. These issues include matters of vital importance to union members such as how assessments are imposed, the procedure for authorizing disbursements of union funds, how contracts are ratified, and how strikes are authorized. Many unions either do not file a detailed statement that adequately describes their policies and procedures or the union cites a constitutional provision that does not describe the policy in sufficient detail. OLMS will provide assistance to unions to ensure that their policies are reported in adequate detail either in the union's constitution and bylaws or in detailed statements on file with OLMS.

The Union Advisory Services program will prevent violations of union members' rights by notifying unions in advance of problems or potential problems with their constitutions and bylaws. In addition, it will increase transparency of union operations by ensuring that union members have immediate access through the Internet to a copy of their union's latest constitution and bylaws and its policies on those matters required by law to be made public.

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Last Updated: 03/14/08

 

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