03.31.2010 0

ALG launches monitoring websites of Big Labor unions

  • On: 04/05/2010 11:22:31
  • In: Big Labor
  • By Rebekah Rast

    In an era where the Obama Administration is rolling back reforms in union transparency, Americans for Limited Government (ALG) is launching two new websites to help union workers keep track of how their union dues are spent.

    Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) are now being closely monitored by ALG in an attempt to hold them accountable to their employees.

    SEIUmonitor.com and UFCWmonitor.com provides union employees, the media and policy makers with the truth about membership dues. Union workers can access information about their pensions, union management and even scandals to be aware of. In an attempt to hold these unions accountable and make the public more aware of union misdeeds, visitors to the site are encouraged to share their stories.

    “The Department of Labor is cutting down on information available to union members. These websites will expose where their money is going,” says Don Todd, Research Director for Americans for Limited Government, and former head of the Labor Department agency responsible for union oversight.

    The websites will be regularly updated with news and information helpful to a union member. Focusing on two of the largest and fastest growing union organizations, these sites shed light on the many greedy tactics used by union leaders to influence members and even sway politicians to support their agenda.

    Andy Stern is President of SEIU. He was also the most frequent visitor of the White House from January through July 2009, visiting 22 times according to the White House visitor log published by The Wall Street Journal. Stern reoccurring visits may have strengthened the Administration’s decision to lessen the requirements of union leaders—foregoing on the promise to run a more transparent government.

    Firm disclosure rules for unions were put into place by the Bush Administration. Unions had to disclose on their LM-2 forms annual reports reflecting finances and any recipients of $5,000 or more in union funds. The first filings of these forms under the Bush Administration would have been due in late 2009, but the Obama Administration delayed the filings and withdrew the requirements altogether in October 2009.

    “The Administration has been rolling reforms back and not showing where the money is going since Obama took office,” Todd says.

    Though unions may think the level of oversight during the Bush Administrative was excessive, Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards has indicted more than a thousand union officials, winning 929 convictions for a wide range of criminal activities, including fraud, misrepresentation and embezzlement. Labor has also won $93 million dollars in restitution of union funds.

    The hope at ALG is that union employees, the media and policymakers will utilize these websites for information they are not getting from the unions themselves.

    “These websites should close the gap of rescinded union transparency left by the Obama Administration,” says Bill Wilson, President of ALG.

    For more information, please visit the websites at: seiumonitor.com and ufcwmonitor.com.

    Rebekah Rast is a contributing editor to ALG News Bureau.

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