The Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) establishes democratic standards for conducting union officer elections, including frequency and method of election, right of members in good standing to be candidates, rights of candidates, and voting rights of members. For further information concerning the LMRDA’s election requirements, please visit the OLMS Union Democracy page and the Electing Union Officers page.

Upon receipt of an actionable, timely-filed written election complaint from a union member, OLMS conducts an investigation to determine whether the union violated the election provisions of the LMRDA and related laws during the conduct of a regularly scheduled officer election and if any violation(s) may have affected the outcome of the election.  In some cases, following an investigation aimed at determining if a member properly filed a complaint, OLMS field offices issue Dismissal Letters that administratively close cases due to procedural deficiencies. 

If the member properly filed the complaint, but the OLMS investigation does not establish that there was a violation of the LMRDA that may have affected the outcome of the election, then OLMS issues a Statement of Reasons (SOR), which documents the agency’s reasons for dismissing the union member’s complaint, rather than taking enforcement action. 

If the Agency finds an election violation that may have affected the outcome of the election, it will seek a voluntary compliance agreement from the union for a rerun election supervised by OLMS.  If the Agency is unable to reach a voluntary compliance agreement with the union, the Secretary of Labor will file suit seeking a supervised election.  See the OLMS Civil Enforcement Actions page.  In these election cases, the final agency action consists of agency Determinations certifying supervised elections conducted pursuant to voluntary compliance agreements, or – in the case of a successful law suit by the Secretary – Certifications of supervised elections conducted pursuant to court order.

Of the over 7,000 elections that OLMS estimates unions hold annually, OLMS receives fewer than 200 complaints a year and fewer than 50 elections have to be rerun.

 

Union Officer Elections Held by Fiscal Year
Union Officer Elections by Fiscal Year 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 Total
Number of Elections* 8491 7982 7949 7627 7529 7577 7416 7323 7114 7106 76113
Number of Elections Complaints Filed 172 117 128 141 155 99 122 128 106 88 1256
Number of Election Complaints Closed by OLMS with no Action 145 79 101 112 120 70 90 84 76 74 951
Number of Elections Voluntarily Rerun by Union 25 31 24 22 33 22 32 28 23 13 253
Number of Elections Rerun by Court Orders 2 7 3 7 2 7 - 16 7 1 52
Percentage of Elections in which Complaints are Filed 2.03% 1.47% 1.61% 1.85% 2.06% 1.31% 1.65% 1.75% 1.49% 1.24% 1.65%
Percentage of Elections Voluntarily Rerun by Union Under OLMS Supervision 0.29% 0.39% 0.30% 0.29% 0.44% 0.29% 0.43% 0.38% 0.32% 0.18% 0.33%
Percentage of Elections Rerun by Court Orders Under OLMS Supervision 0.02% 0.09% 0.04% 0.09% 0.03% 0.09% 0.00% 0.22% 0.10% 0.01% 0.07%

 

*OLMS does not maintain records on the actual number of union officer elections held annually. Under the LMRDA, international unions must elect officers at least every five years, intermediate bodies every four years and local unions every three years. The numbers above are derived by dividing the total number of unions that file LM reports each year by three, on the assumption that approximately a third of all unions hold officer elections each year.

Below are the most recent Election Decisions. OLMS will post these decisions prospectively, and will post decisions from previous years as they become electronically available. 

 

2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

Available pre-2006

Statements of Reasons in Union Election Cases

 

 

Last Updated: 10-14-21