At long last, the Dep’t of Labor unveiled June 3 its Internet disclosure system for unions’ annual financial reports, such as the LM-2 form. The website, http://www.union-reports.dol.gov, allows easy access to union financial reports maintained by DOL’s Office of Labor-Mgmt. Standards. Union members, investigative journalists, non-incumbent union candidates, employers, and anyone else may now view, via the Internet, the union reports and conduct data searches free of charge.
“What used to take weeks will now take seconds. It’s a major breakthrough for holding unions and union bosses accountable,” said NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm, commenting on the difficult process of securing copies of union annual reports, at the cost of the copies, from DOL before the new website became accessible. “It’s free and you don’t have to drive to to your local DOL office to see these reports. This will be a great resource for union members and anyone else wishing to keep track of the shenanigans that go on within unions. I encourage everyone to log on to DOL’s new site today,” said Boehm. “You never know what kind of corruption you might find.”
The Labor-Mgmt. Reporting & Disclosure Act of 1959 and the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 require certain union reports to be filed with DOL. Individuals can view and print copies of actual union annual financial reports (for year 2000 and later) in pdf format. These reports are searchable by a variety of criteria, including union name and location. The site also features a powerful union data search system. Step-by-step instructions guide users through selecting the unions to be included in the search, the time period covered by the search, which data will appear on the resulting listings, and how the data will be sorted. Users may also conduct searches on union officers and employees, either by union or by the name of the officer or employee. [DOL 6/3/02]
“The Bush Labor Department deserves a lot of praise for finally opening this website to the public. Congress has appropriated funds for this website since at least 1997, but the Clinton Labor Department routinely missed deadlines and delayed. This is the first step toward improving union integrity; hopefully the Bush Labor Department is up to the next challenge of improving the union annual report forms themselves,” added Boehm. In May 2002, NLPC filed a petition with DOL proposing ways to better protect the integrity of union treasuries and make unions more accountable to members.