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Labor lapses

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By The Tribune-Review

Published: 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.



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