U.S. Department of Labor Announces Proposal to Protect Workers’ Rights by Increasing Financial Transparency and Union Democracy
WASHINGTON DC – The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) will publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would increase financial transparency and democratic procedures for intermediate bodies under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (LMRDA), also known as the Landrum-Griffin Act.
The NPRM proposes a return to OLMS' 2003 interpretation that mid-level public sector labor organizations, also known as intermediate bodies, are covered under the LMRDA if the intermediate body's national or international organization is also covered under the LMRDA. Under the proposal, these intermediate bodies also would be subject to provisions such as annual financial disclosure reporting, elections and trusteeships.
"The Landrum-Griffin Act was established to protect workers' rights, resulting in stronger unions for America's workers," said Director of the Office of Labor-Management Standards Arthur Rosenfeld. "This proposed rulemaking would increase financial transparency and encourage responsible union democracy, and foster accountability of union officials."
In announcing the rule, the department explained that this expanded coverage advances the remedial purposes of the LMRDA. The department also noted the increased prevalence of public sector unions and their use of substantial monies, including funds derived from LMRDA-covered union dues, distributed to them by the national or international union. This practice, the department concluded, warrants additional financial reporting to promote transparency. Securing financial disclosures from public sector intermediate bodies would allow rank-and-file members, as well as the public, to trace dues money and identify potential irregularities.
OLMS administers and enforces most provisions of the LMRDA, which promote union democracy and financial integrity in private sector labor unions through standards for union officer elections, union trusteeships, and safeguards for union assets. The LMRDA also promotes labor union and labor-management transparency through reporting and disclosure requirements for labor unions and their officials, employers, labor relations consultants and surety companies.
The department encourages interested parties to submit comments on the proposed rule. The NPRM, and the procedures for submitting comments can be found at https://www.dol.gov/olms/. The NPRM will be published in the Federal Register on December 17, 2019, and be available for public comment for 60 days.
The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.