In Cleveland, a labor union has been recommended for trusteeship by a federal investigative panel after it was named in a report for misusing funds and violating the Federal Labor Standards Act. The officers of the Teamsters’ Local involved, which has employees in the grocery and warehousing industry, spent over 70% of its members’ dues on gifts, golf tournaments, supplied the union’s principal officer with 30 weeks of vacation when the organization was in debt, and submitted inaccurate financial reports, perhaps to cover up its wrongdoing. Moreover, “the one function specified in its bylaws for the conference to do: review all the bargaining agreements entered into in the state, has not been performed, if ever, for decades” the investigative report concluded.
Meanwhile, in Kansas, the International Association of Machinists (IAM) assumed control of the day-to-day operations of its Local in Wichita. A temporary trusteeship was imposed on that Local for similar reasons. The Local violated IAM rules, such as not getting proper approval for expenses. Unions misusing members’ dues resulted in the federal government requiring unions to file LM-2 reports chronicling how they spend their money. Unions have been vocal recently arguing that they should not have to divulge their expenditures anymore. I don’t think these events help that argument.
Matt Austin is a lawyer based in the Columbus, Ohio office of Roetzel & Andress, LPA who limits his practice to representing employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can call Matt at (614) 723-2010 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.