Pursuant to a controversial new rule passed by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), “Labor Organization Annual Financial Reports for Trusts in Which a Labor Organization Is Interested,” unions must disclose how certain union-controlled trusts spend and invest their funds.

The rule requires unions with revenue in excess of $250,000 to file annual reports (Form T-1), disclosing “assets, liabilities, receipts and disbursements” of training and strike funds and other trusts whose board members they appoint or whose funds they mostly contribute.

The rule will take effect on April 5, 2020, but unions’ obligations to file will not begin until after the end of their first fiscal year following the rule’s effective date.

The T-1 requires disclosure of loans made to officers or employees, details about disbursements, and the identification of people receiving more than $10,000 from the trust.

The rule is part of the DOL’s continuing effort to foster the reporting requirements of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act. The rule does not apply to certain trusts, including political action committees or other political organizations that already disclose their spending; credit unions; and retirement funds falling under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

The DOL has indicated that the rule is designed to provide union members and others with information relating to trust funds that unions historically have used for a variety of purposes, such as to fund apprenticeship programs, strike funds, redevelopment or investment groups, training funds, building funds, and educational funds. Proponents of the rule believe it will increase financial transparency and expose potential union corruption, including union leader self-dealing. Opponents have expressed skepticism of government intervention in private affairs.

For employers, the rule may result in unsuccessful union organizing when corrupt practices by a union are exposed. (Employers can use the information the rule will make available to educate employees on the facts regarding the risks associated with union representation.) For employees, the rule provides union members with the opportunity to inspect union finances, and thus, make a more informed decision about who they want as their union leaders.

Please contact a Jackson Lewis attorney with questions about this or other labor and collective bargaining issues.

 

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Photo of Howard M. Bloom Howard M. Bloom

Howard M. Bloom is a Principal in the Boston, Massachusetts, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He has practiced labor and employment law representing exclusively employers for more than 36 years.

Mr. Bloom counsels clients in a variety of industries on labor law issues.

Howard M. Bloom is a Principal in the Boston, Massachusetts, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He has practiced labor and employment law representing exclusively employers for more than 36 years.

Mr. Bloom counsels clients in a variety of industries on labor law issues. He trains and advises executives, managers and supervisors on union awareness and positive employee relations, and assists employers in connection with union card-signing efforts, traditional union representation and corporate campaigns, and union decertification campaigns. He also represents clients at the National Labor Relations Board in connection with bargaining unit issues, objections and challenges, as well as unfair labor practice investigations and trials. Mr. Bloom also has been the spokesperson at countless first and successor contract collective bargaining negotiations, and regularly advises on collective bargaining agreement administration issues, including grievance/arbitration issues.

Mr. Bloom has appeared before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, several U.S. District Courts, the National Labor Relations Board, the Massachusetts Labor Relations Commission, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.

Mr. Bloom speaks frequently to employer groups on a wide range of labor and employment law topics. He also has written extensively on labor and employment law for a variety of publications, including New England Business magazine, The Boston Globe and the Boston Business Journal. He also is editor of and a frequent contributor to the Jackson Lewis Labor & Collective Bargaining Blog.

While attending law school, he was the Executive Editor of The Advocate: the Suffolk University Law School Journal and President of the Student Bar Association.

Mr. Bloom is a diehard baseball fan. His first book, The Baseball Uncyclopedia: A Highly Opinionated Myth-Busting Guide to the Great American Game, was published in February 2006.

Photo of Jonathan J. Spitz Jonathan J. Spitz

Jonathan J. Spitz is a principal in the Atlanta, Georgia, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. and co-leader of the firm’s Labor Relations practice group.