This week, Education and Labor Committee Republican Leader Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee Republican Leader Rick Allen (R-GA) sent a letter requesting the Government Accountability Office (GAO) review the Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) and its enforcement activities.
Labor unions are required to file financial information with OLMS under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (LMRDA). But it’s unclear to what extent OLMS is currently enforcing these reporting standards. According to Representatives Foxx and Allen, the GAO has not issued a comprehensive report on OLMS in 22 years.
But union members deserve transparency when it comes to how their hard-earned dues money is spent. That’s why Foxx and Allen are requesting the GAO:
- Describe how OLMS ensures compliance with the LMRDA’s public-reporting requirements for forms LM-1, LM-2, LM-3, LM-4, LM-15, and LM-16, including the extent to which filings are complete and accurate;
- Assess how OLMS conducts compliance audits and investigations—including methodology used, the way it uses resources, and its results and achievements;
- Evaluate OLMS education and compliance assistance efforts to assist unions in complying with the LMRDA’s requirements.
As the members note: “The LMRDA was enacted to protect union members by ensuring the transparency, democracy, and financial integrity they need to make informed decisions about their membership in a union and to understand their union’s operations.”
It’s no secret unions aren’t always the best arbiters of members’ funds. Just look at the UAW — several high ranking officials recently went to prison for a wide-scale corruption scandal that included embezzling hundreds of thousands of members’ dues dollars. For the sake of union members across the country, let’s hope we get better insight to OLMS enforcement sooner rather than later.