The Unions Lack of Transparency
It is 1959; congress reached a boiling point after 2 years of investigations into unions due to corruption. Graft was rampant throughout several major organizations:
- International Brotherhood of Teamsters
- United Mine Workers
- International Longshoremen Workers Union
[During 1959 a Republican was in the White House, the Senate was controlled by the Republicans and the House was controlled by the Democrats.]
Congress Introduced the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) in 1959 (Landrum-Griffin Act) which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support (House 352-52 – Senate 95-2). Though reports had to be filed prior to the passage of the Act public viewing of those documents were not allowed. Union members were not given access to financial documents in order to see what their money was being spent on. Robert Kennedy, who was involved with the initial Senate investigations, even said the financial reporting requirements were weak. Later, there was Title II to of Landrum-Griffin Act which mandated unions to an even greater transparency of their financial matters.
In 1960, Secretary of Labor John Mitchell (Republican Administration) had set a stronger reporting requirement of monies spent over $20,000. Unions which spent over $20,000 had to report those receipts to the Department of Labor on a form LM-2. In 1994 (Democratic Administration) the threshold of reporting expenditures by the unions crept up for monies spent for over $200,000. The unions did everything they could to not disclose to their members by not telling them about financial reporting being completed. The International Association of Machinists was involved in litigation for years over not informing their members on financial information. The Machinists indicated that a one-time notification issued in 1959 was sufficient to comply with the LMRDA’s notification requirements!
One October 13, 2009 (Democratic Administration) the Department of Labor had rolled back the reporting requirements for unions saying that it was too difficult for the unions to comply with the requirements of monies spent by them. That the form LM-2 and a new form LM-30 (disclose conflicts of interest) along with a form T-1 (finances of union-managed trusts: credit unions, strike funds, pension and welfare plans, building funds) are just too burdensome to be complied with by the unions. The unions believe their members are smart enough to get the information they seek from their own union on expenditures or the IRS.
In contrast to the unions that have assets in the Billions, corporations are required by Sarbanes-Oxleyto provide very detailed reporting of their financial dealings and full disclosure to shareholders. Likewise candidates for political office must comply with the Federal Election Commission rules. Citizens must comply with strict reporting requirements to the IRS.
Why would a union member want their union to receive their dues via payroll deduction? The reason may be it is the union’s ultimate power over its members! For decades the unions have hidden monies they have spent from their members. How do the big bosses live that run these unions? I’ll bet they live better than you do! The unions are supposed to serve its members, not the other way around. Many unions have become socialist in nature, which makes perfect sense since socialism, according to Merriam-Webster means: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods. However, the top union leadership, more than likely, lives like kings! They are using a shell game to keep more of your money for themselves and by charging high union fees. What does all this come down to, greed and power over the members. A question for the union member, why not take the power back in the form of paying your own dues without payroll deduction?
Obama announced his re-election bid for the 2012 election cycle a strong friend of unions. I wonder if he will be successful in raising that kind of money. Time will tell if “that dog hunts”. My guess “that dog will hunt”!
Source provided by The Heritage Foundation for the Hudson Institute: The Future of Union Transparency and Accountability
Capital Research Center charted problems with unions during 2002. Reports which were not even filed! Reporting Union Finances: The Case for Reform of the Landrum-Griffin Act