March 24, 2009

A step backwards for union transparency

In a sad day for union transparency efforts, the Department of Labor has ruled that union employees will not be required to use the updated and more comprehensive LM-30 form. According to Liberty Live, the updated forms "were supposed to provide union members with more information on possible union employee conflicts of interest."

The Department gave as their reason as a simple "not worth the resources":

Despite the promulgation of the new Form LM-30, fundamental questions regarding the scope and extent of the reporting obligations are unanswered, and litigation challenging some aspects of the form remains pending. Yet, by March 31, 2009, reports for calendar year 2008 must be filed. In light of this uncertainty, the pending regulatory action, the pending litigation and the rapidly approaching filing deadline, OLMS has determined that it would not be a good use of resources to bring enforcement actions based upon a failure to use a specific form to comply with the statutory obligation to report certain financial information. (Emphasis mine)

Union members have a right to know how their money is being spent. The new LM-30 form would of made that information easily accessible and the union employees more accountable.

This is a setback for union transparency and my hope is the Department of Labor soon decides that enforcement is worth its time. However, I do not expect a change anytime soon.