ShareThis Page

Labor lapses

| Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Under former Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, the Office of Labor Management Standards (OLMS) held the nation's unions to ridiculously loose standards, allowing long-established reporting procedures on U.S. workers' dues to fall through the cracks, according to an inspector general's audit.

The IG report found that 76 percent of reviewed compliance audits missed “noncriminal” violations of law, such as failing to file and maintain certain records, The Heritage Foundation reports. Small potatoes? Not when lapses in record-keeping make it increasingly difficult to determine what unions are doing with their members' dues.

Last year, 16 percent of unions audited (one in six) committed criminal violations of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act, written in part by Sen. John F. Kennedy to stem abuse. And that's probably on the low end.

Why? Because the Obama administration, between 2009 and 2011, cut the number of OLMS audits by nearly 40 percent, based on OLMS annual reports reviewed by Heritage.

Just last month, a Los Angeles federal jury convicted Tyrone Freeman, president of the SEIU Local 6434 (representing 180,000 homecare workers) on 14 counts, most involving the rip-off of union dues. This, after incongruities in financial disclosure forms touched off a federal investigation.

What's revealed is the Obama administration's all-too-familiar record of union coddling. Can we expect better from the next Labor secretary? Don't bet your dues on it.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.