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Reporting and Disclosure Requirements for Labor Unions

Background

Congress passed the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) in 1959 to protect union members and society from corrupt and unfair labor union practices. The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (CSRA) sets forth a number of similar protections for members of unions representing federal employees. One of the major sets of requirements established by the laws pertains to reporting and disclosure. The laws seek to guard against financial corruption by requiring labor unions and other groups and individuals to comply with strict reporting and disclosure requirements.

Reporting Requirements

 

The reporting and disclosure requirements of the LMRDA and the CSRA apply to the following organizations and individuals:

 

  • Covered Labor Unions, which are those unions not representing employees of state and local governments, must file the following types of reports:
      • information reports,

 

      • financial reports,

 

      • terminal labor organization reports, and

 

    • trusteeship reports;

 

  • Officers and Employees of Covered Unions, who must file reports if they or their family members have certain financial interests in the employer. These interests include some security interests, business transactions, and loans. Security interests traded through a registered national securities exchange do not trigger a reporting requirement;

 

  • Employers, who must report any payments or financial arrangements made to unions or their affiliates. They do not need to report any payments qualifying as bona fide wages;

 

  • Surety Companies, who must file an annual report relating to any bond that they issue to a union pursuant to requirements of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) or the LMRDA; and

 

  • Labor Relations Consultants, who persuade employees to exercise their rights to bargain collectively or to organize a union are required to file an activity report.

Enforcement of Requirements

 

Reports required under the law must be filed with the Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS), a division of the Employment Standards Administration within the Department of Labor. Members of the public may view and purchase the reports.

The OLMS conducts investigations to determine whether parties are properly complying with the reporting requirements of the law. The OLMS has the authority to file civil or criminal actions against violators. It is a crime to willfully refuse to make the required reports or to willfully file false or misleading reports. Violators may be required to serve up to one year in prison or to pay a fine up to $100,000 or both.

Copyright 2012 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.