A labor union is an organization that engages in collective bargaining with an employer to protect workers’ economic status and working conditions. The aim is to ensure fair wages, benefits, and working conditions for union members. Union contracts specify workers’ pay, hours, benefits, and job health and safety policies.
The vast majority of union officials and employees do their work diligently and without incident. Unfortunately, civil and criminal violations do sometimes occur and when they do, the union is typically the victim. The Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) administers provisions of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA), which promotes labor-management transparency by making available reports showing unions’ financial condition and employer expenditures for their activities in persuading workers during union organizing campaigns. It also promotes labor union democracy and financial integrity through adopting and enforcing standards for union officer elections and union trusteeships and safeguards for union assets.
OLMS also administers the standards of conduct provisions of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (CSRA) and the Foreign Service Act of 1980, which extend comparable protections to Federal labor unions. A union that represents only employees of state, county, or municipal governments is not subject to the LMRDA or the CSRA. See 29 CFR Part 451 and the OLMS Interpretative Manual Definitions section for further information concerning labor organization coverage under the LMRDA.
OLMS has the authority to enforce certain provisions of the LMRDA. However, some provisions of the LMRDA such as the Bill of Rights and the fiduciary standards for union officers can only be enforced by union members through a private suit in Federal district court. See the OLMS Interpretative Manual Enforcement section. The CSRA standards of conduct regulations also incorporate many of the LMRDA provisions. When administering the standards of conduct regulations for Federal sector unions, OLMS is guided by LMRDA policies and principles. Unlike the LMRDA, the CSRA standards of conduct regulations are enforced entirely through various administrative actions depending upon the violation. This generally involves the filing of a complaint by an OLMS District Director, a hearing before a Department of Labor administrative law judge, the judge’s report and recommendations, and a decision and order by the Department’s Administrative Review Board.
For further Union Resources Information, see the sections below, the OLMS Publications on the LMRDA and CSRA, the OLMS Interpretative Manual and related Questions and Answers, or contact OLMS. Also, for procedures on enforcement for the LMRDA and CSRA, including information on filing a complaint, please visit this page. To view union annual financial and other reports for the year 2000 and later, as well as order copies of earlier reports, visit the Online Public Disclosure Room.
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