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September 23, 2008    DOL Home > Compliance Assistance > By Topic > Unions and Union Members   

Unions and Union Members

 Frequently Asked Questions


The Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (LMRDA) was enacted to ensure basic standards of democracy and fiscal responsibility in private sector labor organizations. Unions representing U.S. Postal Service employees are also subject to the LMRDA. Federal employee unions are subject to similar standards under the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (CSRA) and the Foreign Service Act of 1980 (FSA). The Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) of the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment Standards Administration administers and enforces many provisions of the LMRDA.

In addition to provisions regarding union elections and ensuring fiscal responsibility, Section 104 of the LMRDA establishes the right to receive or examine collective bargaining agreements and applies not only to union members but also to all nonunion employees whose rights are directly affected by a collective bargaining agreement. Other parts of LMRDA set recordkeeping and financial reporting requirements, as well as rules for unions who establish trusteeship over subordinate unions.

OLMS also protects mass transit employees under the Federal Transit Law. Among the protections for covered employees is the continuation of their collective bargaining rights. In addition, OLMS administers Executive Order 13201, which requires government contracts and subcontracts to include an employee notice clause requiring non-exempt federal contractors and subcontractors to post notices informing their employees that they have certain rights related to union membership and use of union dues and fees under federal law.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is the federal agency that administers the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) by conducting elections to determine whether or not employees want union representation and investigating and remedying unfair labor practices by employers and unions.

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