Americans for Limited Government Foundation issues recommendations to beef up the Office of Labor Management Standards

June 7, 2018, Fairfax, VA –Americans for Limited Government Foundation today released a report entitled “Making the Office of Labor-Management Standards Great Again.” The report makes recommendations concerning the Office of Labor Management Standards (OLMS) at the U.S. Department of Labor.

The report calls for increased funding to the OLMS budget to at least $59 million. During the Obama years, the agency’s budget was cut 18 percent to $39 million, and part of its staff was transferred to the Wage and Hour Division. In FY 2018, the agency received $37.9 million. The Trump administration has requested an increase to $46.6 million for FY 2019, while calling for the $12 billion department budget to be cut to $9.4 billion.

“Due to the massive decline in union audits conducted by OLMS under Obama, the agency needs to significantly increase its output just to make up for all of the work that was not done during the last administration. The agency’s funding peaked in 2007 at $47.75 million. Adjusted for inflation, that would be more than $59 million today,” Richard McCarty, Director of Research at Americans for Limited Government Foundation and report co-author stated.

McCarty added, “The Wage and Hour employees should be returned to OLMS. Additional funding for OLMS would be offset with reduced funding for the bloated $12 billion Labor Department budget, including Wage and Hour Division and Labor Department giveaway programs.”

The report also calls for the reinstatement of transparency rules which were rescinded under Obama. To improve transparency and accountability, the report recommends the following changes to required union filings:

  • LM-2 filings should include the total cost of compensation for union officials including free housing and deferred compensation. They should also include the sources of revenues and the names of buyers and sellers of union assets greater than $5,000.
  • LM-3 filings, which are less informative than LM-2 filings, should be limited to smaller unions, unless they are in receivership.
  • T-1 filings, which cover union-managed trusts, should be reinstated. Union-managed trusts include strike funds, training funds, building funds, and credit unions.
  • LM-30 filings, which disclose conflicts of interest, should be enforced; for many years, there has been little enforcement of the requirement to file these forms.

“Union members have a right to know how their dues money is being spent and whether or not their union’s officials have serious conflicts of interest. If implemented, these transparency regulations are likely to uncover past wrongdoing and to discourage future misuses of union funds,” said Rick Manning, President of Americans for Limited Government Foundation and former member of the Trump transition team for the Labor Department.

“These reforms are badly needed and should be implemented as soon as possible,” said Don Todd, former Director of the Office of Labor-Management Standards and Executive Advisor to Americans for Limited Government Foundation.

It is not only conservatives who see the value of more union transparency. For example, the Association for Union Democracy, which is a pro-union organization that advocates for democracy within unions, was broadly supportive of enhanced reporting requirements.  Arthur Fox, the counsel for the organization, told Congress the following about the rescinded transparency rules: “While some of the changes to the reporting requirements promulgated by OLMS would arguably have been unduly burdensome on unions and of little value to members, many other of the provisions of the reformed reporting requirements would have been of great value to union members.”

Attachments:

“Making the Office of Labor Management Standards Great Again,” Americans for Limited Government Foundation, June 7, 2018 at https://getliberty.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/MakingOLMSGreatAgain6-7-18.pdf

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at 703-383-0880 ext. 106 or at media@limitgov.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts.

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