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Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS)

U.S. Department of Labor
Office of Labor-Management Standards
Philadelphia-Pittsburgh District Office
Suite 760W
170 S. Independence Mall West
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 861-4818 Fax: (215) 861-4819

 

 

 

May 23, 2016

 

Mr. John Paugh, President
Communications Workers Local 2010

Case Number: 140-6007225
LM Number: 041290

Dear Mr. Paugh:

This office has recently completed an audit of Communications Workers Local 2010 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 on May 20, 2016, 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.

Recordkeeping Violations

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 2010’s 2015 records revealed the following recordkeeping violations:

1. General Reimbursed Expenses

Local 2010 did not retain adequate documentation for reimbursed lodging expenses incurred by President Paugh totaling at least $1,042.51. For example, President Paugh failed to attach his lodging receipts, in the amounts of $309.00 and $733.51, to the expense vouchers supporting union checks and .

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. Lost Wages


Local 2010 did not retain adequate documentation for lost wage reimbursement payments to union officers. 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 2010 failed to record the number of hours lost and the hourly rate paid on some of their lost time and expense vouchers.

During the exit interview, I provided a compliance tip sheet, Union Lost Time Payments, that contained a sample of an expense voucher Local 2010 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 officer expenses.

3. Receipt Dates not Recorded


Entries in Local 2010’s check stubs and monthly financial reports recorded receipts; however, the union failed to record the date the money was received. Union receipts records must show the date of receipt. The date of receipt is required to verify, explain, or clarify amounts required to be reported in Statement B (Receipts and Disbursements) of the LM-2 / LM-3. The LM-2/3 instructions for Statement B state that the labor organization must record receipts when it actually receives money and disbursements when it actually pays out money. Failure to record the date money was received could result in the union reporting some receipts for a different year than when it actually received them.

4. Raffled Items


Local 2010 received a Remington shotgun for selling 100 gun raffle calendars during the audit period that was raffled during the local union’s after-Christmas party. The local failed to record the winner of the Remington shotgun anywhere in their union records. The recipient of the Remington shotgun should have been recorded in the union records. During the exit interview, we discussed noting any raffle winner in the union’s meeting minutes.

Based on your assurance that Local 2010 will retain adequate documentation in the future, OLMS will take no further enforcement action at this time regarding the above violations.

Reporting 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 2010 for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2015, was deficient in the following areas:

1. Acquire/Dispose of Property


Item 13 [LM-3] (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 a Remington shotgun it received as part of a gun calendar raffle 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 that it traded in.

2. Disbursements to Officers (LM-3)


Local 2010 did not include some reimbursements to officers totaling at least $57.00 in the amounts reported Item 24 (All Officers and Disbursements to Officers). It appears the union erroneously reported these payments in Item 48.

The union must report most direct disbursements to Local 2010 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).

I am not requiring that Local 2010 file an amended LM report for 2015 to correct the deficient items, but Local 2010 has agreed to properly report the deficient items on all future reports it files with OLMS.

Other Issue

The audit disclosed the following other issue:

Signing Blank Checks

During the audit, you advised that you occasionally sign blank checks. Your union’s bylaws require that all checks be signed by the president and treasurer. The two signature requirement is an effective internal control of union funds. Its purpose is to attest to the authenticity of a completed document already signed. However, signing a blank check in advance does not attest to the authenticity of a completed check, and negates the purpose of the two signature requirement. OLMS recommends that Local 2010 review these procedures to improve internal control of union disbursements.

I want to extend my personal appreciation to Communications Workers Local 2010 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.

Sincerely,




Investigator


cc: Mr. Jeremy Kittle, Secretary-Treasurer