More Disclosures

The Department of Labor is demanding that union bosses make public more details of the internal finances to protect union workers’ dues money from abuse. The Department has proposed new changes to its disclosure forms.

As reported by the Associated Press (AP):

“This proposed rule provides union members with more complete information about union finances and will better protect their legal rights to transparency and accountability under the law,” said Don Todd, deputy assistant secretary for the Office of Labor-Management Standards.

But the union bosses are not happy, wanting to rule their fiefdom of unlimited coerced union dues without interference or disclosure to the workforce paying their salaries. AP continues:

“The administration is showing once again that it would rather spend its time on a witch hunt aimed at unions than on advancing the interests of workers,” AFL-CIO President John Sweeney said in a statement.

Some of the changes in the proposed rule include:

_ Asking union officials and employees making more than $10,000 to itemize their benefits like life insurance, pensions and deferred compensation. The current form allows benefits to be combined and disclosed as one number, leaving the amount of individual benefits undisclosed.

_ Requiring disclosure of expenses when the money is not reimbursed directly to the union employee or official. Labor officials say indirect reimbursement, when payment for expenses goes to the vendor instead of to the employee or official, currently does not have to be disclosed on the forms.

_ Requiring unions to disclose who bought or sold any union asset worth more than $5,000. The current form only requires disclosure of the sale.

_ Requiring itemization of certain cash receipts of $5,000 or more.

Reporting rules require national, regional and local unions with an income of more than $250,000 to provide financial details in the annual reports they must file with the Labor Department.

Unions that have less income get to file a simpler form, but the Labor Department said it wants to revoke that privilege and require the more detailed form for unions that are late with their forms, fill them out incorrectly or get into other trouble.

“The proposed rule builds on the administration’s continuing commitment to transparency and accountability for corporations, pension funds and labor unions,” Todd said.