Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

When Unions Make Assumptions…

Man, I’m sure glad I’m not Center for American Progress Senior Researcher Scott Lilly today (or more likely, one of his research assistants). He released a report yesterday lambasting the Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS). The only problem is that he got it seriously wrong.

Lilly’s central criticism is that the OLMS’s information is “seriously misleading” and contains “a variety of false analyses.”

Lilly titled a section of his report: “OLMS Lies About the Contents of its Own Data Base” (“database” is one word, by the way). He claims that the number of labor leader convictions posted on the OLMS website does not add up to the number reported in the Office’s annual program data, so somebody must be lying. That’s quite an accusation to be throwing around about a government agency; too bad its wrong.

Lilly wrongly assumed that the cases posted on the OLMS’s website were a complete “data base” of case actions. Yet, nowhere on the DOL’s website does it claim to be a complete listing of cases, let alone the database of information Lilly claims to have obtained. The OLMS does, in fact, have a database of cases called the Case Data System (CDS), but they refuse to release it publicly. (Trust us, we’ve been fighting a 2 year FOIA battle to obtain it.)

The reason the numbers don’t add up is simple: the OLMS doesn’t post all of their cases online, only a selection of featured cases. I found that out after a two-minute phone call to the OLMS. Instead, the annual program report from the OLMS are computed from the internal CDS, which does contain a complete list of cases.

Lilly goes on to claim that the Center for Union Facts and others have relied on “heavily doctored” data from OLMS. Maybe he should check his assumptions before he states making so many “false analyses.” That might be too much to hope for.

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