Farewell Union Transparency

It may not get card check this Congress, but organized labor still has plenty for which to thank the Obama administration. Today, in The American Spectator, F. Vincent Vernuccio describes one such fulfilled item on the unions’ wish list:

Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis betrayed rank and file union members by repealing vital reporting regulations that allowed members to see how union bosses were spending their hard-earned dues money. …

Solis’s repeal weakens one of the chief reporting tools used by the website to collect union financial data, the Form LM-2. The form requires labor organizations whose annual receipts are greater than $250,000 to identify and report all expense above $5,000. This tool allowed the DOL’s Office of Labor and Management Standards to obtain $91.5 million dollars in restitution of dues and resulted in over 900 convictions from 2001 to 2008. …

Before the repeal, labor organizations were required to identify all of their officers’ compensation including salary, benefits, deferred compensation, and even travel expenses. Access to this information is critical to guard how members’ money is being spent and help prevent abuse.

This is especially unfortunate given the scope of the scandal that came to light at a Service Employees International Union (SEIU) local in Los Angeles late last year. Without better union expense reporting, such scandals will become much harder to uncover.

See Vernuccio’s CEI OnPoint on card check here.

For more on Labor Secretary Solis, see here.