|November 5, 2008
ESA News Release: [09/30/2008]
U.S. Department of Labor issues union transparency final rule
Rule establishes Form T-1 for union trust reporting
WASHINGTON The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) today posted at www.olms.dol.gov a final rule that enhances financial reporting and provides union members with more complete information about finances held in union trusts. The final rule, issued under the authority of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (LMRDA), further implements the LMRDA goal of securing the right of labor union members to have meaningful information about union finances and expenditures. The final rule also will be published in the Federal Register shortly.
"This final rule builds on the administration's commitment to transparency and accountability for corporations, pension funds and labor unions. Union members expect access to relevant and useful information in order to make fundamental investment, career and retirement decisions, evaluate options and exercise legally guaranteed rights," said Don Todd, deputy assistant secretary for labor-management programs. "With meaningful disclosure, the department hopes to deter potential misuse of union trusts that have occurred in the past and allow union members to know exactly where their hard-earned dollars are being spent."
Union trusts are established and maintained primarily to provide benefits to union members and their beneficiaries, and common examples include credit unions, strike funds, redevelopment or investment groups, training funds, apprenticeship programs, building funds and educational funds. The Form T-1 will provide information to union members and the public about these types of trusts, for which there is currently little, if any, financial disclosure. Under the rule, unions will be required to annually file a Form T-1 for trusts in which a union, alone or in combination with other unions, possesses managerial control or financial dominance.
The Form T-1 will use the same basic template as the existing Form LM-2, which has been in effect since Jan. 1, 2004, and unions have experience with filing. OLMS also has limited the burden on smaller unions that are unlikely to have significant funds in LMRDA-covered trusts. Only labor unions with total annual receipts of $250,000 or more will need to file a Form T-1. Additionally, labor unions will not be required to file a Form T-1 on trusts subject to certain other disclosure requirements.
OLMS is the federal law enforcement agency responsible for administering most provisions of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959. OLMS's public disclosure Web site at www.unionreports.gov contains union annual financial reports and additional reports required to be filed under the LMRDA as well as copies of collective bargaining agreements. Other information, including synopses of OLMS enforcement actions, is available at www.olms.dol.gov.