Payback is not always a bitch.  Obama team reverses union transparency

Finance reporting rules deemed too onerous for labor leaders

The Obama administration, which has boasted about its efforts to make government more transparent, is rolling back rules requiring labor unions and their leaders to report information about their finances and compensation.

The Labor Department noted in a recent disclosure that “it would not be a good use of resources” to bring enforcement actions against union officials who do not comply with conflict of interest reporting rules passed in 2007. Instead, union officials will now be allowed to file older, less detailed conflict reports.

…The Labor Department also is rescinding another key labor financial disclosure regulation. The expansion of the so-called LM-2 rule, approved during the last days of the Bush administration, requires unions to report more information about finances and labor leaders’ compensation on annual reports.

Why it’s a bad idea:

However, Mark Mix, president of the pro-business National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, which provides legal services to workers who say unions have violated their rights, called the rollback of union financial disclosures troubling.

“The department’s decision not to protect simple union disclosure protections creates increased vulnerability for American workers and should serve notice to legislators that now is not the time to grant union bosses more unchecked power over workers and our economy,” he wrote in a recent letter to the department.

He said the AFL-CIO would “benefit greatly” from the delay or rollback of expanded reporting rules. “It immediately allows the AFL-CIO to avoid financial disclosure that is beneficial and necessary to rank-and-file workers who are forced to pay union dues and fees to keep a job,” he said.

It’s no big deal, say proponents:

Jim Coppess, associate general counsel for the AFL-CIO, discounted the criticism. He said the Labor Department’s recent moves did nothing to affect the transparency of union financial reports or the ability of federal regulators to monitor expenditures.

“All the department has done is propose the withdrawal of a rule hastily adopted on the very last day of the Bush administration and an examination of the actual costs and benefits of extensive reporting requirements imposed on unions in 2003 as the basis for possible future changes,” he wrote in an e-mail to The Washington Times.

The administration is a Who’s Who of Big Labor figures:

Patrick Gaspard, White House political affairs director, who worked at the Service Employees International Union.

T. Michael Kerr, who served as assistant to the secretary-treasurer at SEIU in charge of finance and administration before he was picked to serve as assistant secretary for administration and management at Labor.

Deborah Greenfield…is now a high-ranking deputy at Labor who also worked on the Obama transition team on labor issues. In her new job, Ms. Greenfield is in charge of the department’s executive secretariat office, which handles incoming correspondence to Ms. Solis, as well as memoranda and other documents from throughout the department.

Who says union leaders aren’t good businessmen?  They got a very good return on their campaign donation investment.

Advertisements