On the 26th of October, DOL rescinded
the 2007 Form LM-30
(conflicts-of-interests reports) and ignored statutory language to eliminate thousands of union officials from disclosing potential conflicts-of-interests when it created the 2011 Form LM-30. DOL’s Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) continued to lower standards
by creating new exclusions and loopholes for ethically-challenged union officials to hide their activities.
As previously noted on BigGovernment.com
, Obama’s OLMS Director John Lund has his own conflict-of-interest problems since he arrived at the U.S. Department of Labor
regarding his Big Labor clients. Lund has teamed up with similarly-conflicted former AFL-CIO lawyer, and now DOL’s Deputy Solicitor of Labor Deborah Greenfield. (Greenfield was suing DOL to try to eliminate 2007 Form LM-30 disclosure reports, the one's that the Solicitor of Labor's office just approved eliminating.) It is not surprising with these two at DOL, that it has chosen to promulgate a rule that guts union officer conflicts-of-interest reporting.
John Lund’s union clients and Deborah Greenfield
’s AFL-CIO comrades will directly benefit from DOL’s new rule, and under their advice will accomplish what Greenfield's AFL-CIO lawsuit couldn't accomplish through the courts.
[caption id="attachment_369080" align="aligncenter" width="523" caption="Even though 'Jobs' is supposed to be the Obama Administration's #1 priority, it appears that the U.S. Labor Department's focus is on regs that will only help union bosses."]
The Labor Department has even become so bold that it does not appear to care what it writes as justification for its actions. For example, the LM-30 final rule describes an obvious potential for a conflict-of-interest even as it states there is no potential for conflict-of-interest.
“Employers have historically agreed to compensate stewards, safety and health committee representatives, and others for such work because they see it as adding value to their organizations. ...Having employees serve on employee assistance programs and wellness committees is also seen as a cost-effective business decision by many employers. The Department concurs with those commenters who stated that union leave and no docking arrangements increase the speed of grievance adjustments, and otherwise benefit labor-management relations. The Department does not view the section 202 reporting provisions as requiring the reporting of such mutually beneficial arrangements between employers and employees.”
It is bizarre.
Employers paying union officials to serve on do-nothing committees does not present a conflict-of-interest? Employers paying so-called union stewards or business agents a full-year salary with annual raises, promotions, and benefits while these union stewards and business agents work for the union 100% of the time – this does not present the potential for conflict? These are ‘no-show’ jobs for the employer and DOL does not see how these arrangements could cause a conflict-of-interest? DOL states that these Employer-paid arrangements "increase the speed of grievance adjustments;" yet it fails to consider employees whose grievances were settled quickly were satisfied with the speed of that settlement or with the final outcome. DOL fails to consider that those employees whose fates these employer-paid agents representing them control would also like to know what these so-called union officials were getting in terms of special pay and treatment from the employer. Whose interest is the union official really representing?
Under DOL’s new rules, as long as a transaction or an arrangement with an employer is not referred to as a bribe, and even though it benefits only union officials; then these usually hidden side agreements will likely go undisclosed to employees working under a collective bargaining agreement. This lack of disclosure only benefits union officials
The new Obama DOL Union Officer and Employee Conflicts-of-Interest Disclosure Reports will no longer require disclosure of:
- Salary payments by employers to union officials who do absolutely no work for the employer except grease the skids in "grievance adjustments";
- Bonuses and raises paid by employers to union officials who do absolutely no work for the employer;
- Promotions by employers to union officials who do absolutely no work for the employer;
- Director stipends of $20,000 or more to union officials for attending annual or quarterly labor-management conferences often held at a lush resorts;
- Labor union presidents’ spouses who receive payments of $250,000 a year from a HERE union pension trust will no longer be required to disclose it because Obama’s DOL believes that congress was uninterested in these types of conflicts.
The list goes on and on of what does not have to be reported or who no longer has to report. This is a shameful and negligent action by DOL to create this weak rule with its unjustified reduction of conflicts-of-interest disclosure.
On his first full day in office, President Obama declared that he would end the old way of Washington insiders. He has ended the old ways. Obama has put it into Chicago-style overdrive. Big Labor lobbyists and insiders control the U.S. Department of Labor in a manner not seen in decades.
Union bosses have control over billions of forced-dues
every year, and this Department of Labor continues to cut away at any public disclosure regarding these funds, to the detriment of employees who toil under collective bargaining agreements. All the while, DOL modifies rules to benefit union bosses, especially to benefit corrupt union bos
ses who will use these loopholes to continue to enrich themselves and their cohorts at the expense of those who they supposedly represent.
At a time when President Obama is struggling to find gifts for union bosses – it is not surprising his Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, former treasurer of an AFL-CIO front group
, would wipe away conflicts-of-interest disclosures for union bosses.
But, if this and other rescissions by DOL are allowed to stand under legal challenges and congressional reviews, it will prove to be a green light for a new Administration to completely rescind Obama’s rules and finally produce rules that will expose every union boss-controlled financial transaction – allowing sunlight to finally enter the black hole known as union recordkeeping