March, 2008 Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News
DOL releases amount of court-ordered union fund restitutions
By PAUL TUCKER
REGION, January 11th- The United States Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) in Washington DC, recently released its criminal enforcement data for Fiscal Year 2007.
The Office of Labor-Management Standards is the federal law enforcement agency responsible for administering most provisions of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) of 1959.
The agency’s criminal enforcement program includes investigations of embezzlement from labor organizations, extortionate picketing, deprivation of union members rights and fraud in union officer elections.
In cases where racketeering and/or organized crime are involved the OLMS works with the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General, which is the lead agency in those cases.
The agency’s civil program collects and publicly discloses unions’ annual financial reports, conducts compliance audits of labor unions and seeks civil remedies for violations of union officer election procedures.
According to the agency, court-ordered restitution of union funds has risen in each year since 2001. In 2001 the amount of restitution was just under $2 million while the amount for 2007 was over $32 million. Criminal case processing was up in 2007 by 10 percent since 2001 and convictions of embezzlement of union funds was up 16 percent during that period.
The Department of Labor also reported an increase of union audits during the period because of the increase of staffing during the Bush Administration. A new unit with the mission of increasing OLMS audit presence in international unions, as well as assisting local unions in meeting disclosure requirements was also established.
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Labor-Management Standards Don Todd, stated on the Department of Labor internet site that union members deserve nothing less than a agressive investigation into union fund embezzlement.
The agency’s public disclosure internet site contains union annual financial reports and recent enforcement actions and can be reviewed at http://www.olms.dol.gov.