Under President Obama the Department of Labor may revoke union financial disclosure requirements enacted by the Bush Administration requiring union officials to report their compensation to the government on an annual basis.
Rolling back these financial disclosure requirements is high on the unions’ wish list. The AFL-CIO submitted an 8-page list of “Day 1” recommendations to the Obama-Biden transition team last year and asked the Department of Labor make it their “highest” priority to seek public comment on such a rule change “on whether to rescind all of these regulations, with a view towards rescission.”
The administration carried out this process and a final rule is now pending.
The public comment process was spurred by a memo written by White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel instructing all federal agencies to review the “merits of rescinding or retaining” last minute regulations handed down by the Bush administration last January. He also said any their implementation must be delayed by 60 days.
Among those were new regulations requiring the disclosure of compensation for high-level union officers and information regarding the sale or purchase of union property.
Department of Labor spokeswoman Dolline Hatchett said “The Department is reviewing the comments received to determine what our further action will be. Any proposed action will be published for notice and comment in the Federal Register. “
The first filing deadline was to be March 30, 2009. Because of Emanuel’s memo that was been delayed until April 21, although the administration may decide to throw them out completely before that date.
The AFL-CIO wants them gone. In their memo to the Obama transition team the AFL-CIO said complying with the Bush administration’s disclosure rules “entailed huge expenditures” and were part of the GOP’s campaign to impose “a series of costly, burdensome, and intrusive reporting requirements on unions and their officers, employees, and volunteers that are designed to produce vast quantities of information of little or no value to union members.”
Former Bush administration labor officials view this action as the first of many under by Democrats towards handcuffing the Department’s Office of Labor Management Standards, a division that oversees union finances. “OLMS is equivalent to the unions what the SEC is to companies,” said Glenn Spencer, former deputy chief of staff and acting chief of staff to Secretary Elaine Chao. “It is the only federal entity that conducts audits for the massive amounts of money that unions bring in every year. The department, now at the unions bidding, will attempt to gut the agency and prevent any real transparency and accountability.”