& A Forum
Excerpt from the Labor Management
Reporting Act of 1959 as Amended (LMRDA)
(3) DUES, INITIATION FEES, AND ASSESSMENTS.-- Except in the
case of a federation of national or international labor organizations,
the rates of dues and initiation fees payable by members of any labor
organization in effect on the date of enactment of this Act shall not
be increased, and no general or special assessment shall be levied upon
such members, except-
(A) in the case of a local organization, (i) by majority vote
by secret ballot of the members in good standing voting at a general
or special membership meeting, after reasonable notice of the intention
to vote upon such question, or (ii) by majority vote of the members
in good standing voting in a membership referendum conducted by secret
(B) in the case of a labor organization, other than a local labor
organization or a federation of national or international labor organizations,
(i) by majority vote of the delegates voting at a regular convention,
or at a special convention of such labor organization held upon not
less than thirty days' written notice to the principal office of each
local or constituent labor organization entitled to such notice, or
(ii) by majority vote of the members in good standing of such labor
organization voting in a membership referendum conducted by secret ballot,
or (iii) by majority vote of the members of the executive board or similar
governing body of such labor organization, pursuant to express authority
contained in the constitution and bylaws of such labor organization:
Provided, That such action on the part of the executive board
or similar governing body shall be effective only until the next regular
convention of such labor organization.
(4) PROTECTION OF THE RIGHT TO SUE.-- No labor organization shall
limit the right of any member thereof to institute an action in any
court, or in a proceeding before any administrative agency, irrespective
of whether or not the labor organization or its officers are named as
defendants or respondents in such action or proceeding, or the right
of any member of a labor organization to appear as a witness in any
judicial, administrative, or legislative proceeding, or to petition
any legislature or to communicate with any legislator: Provided,
That any such member may be required to exhaust reasonable hearing
procedures (but not to exceed a four-month lapse of time) within such
organization, before instituting legal or administrative proceedings
against such organizations or any officer thereof: And provided further,
That no interested employer or employer association shall directly
or indirectly finance, encourage, or participate in, except as a party,
any such action, proceeding, appearance, or petition.
- Union members have:
- equal rights to participate in union activities
- freedom of speech and assembly
- voice in setting rates of dues, fees, and assessments
- protection of the right to sue
- safeguards against improper discipline
- Union members and nonunion employees have the right to
receive or inspect copies of collective bargaining agreements.
Unions are required to
file an initial information report (Form LM-1), copies of
constitutions and bylaws, and an annual financial report (Form
LM-2/3/4) with OLMS. Unions must make the reports available to
members and permit members to examine supporting records for just
cause. The reports are public information and copies are available
members have the right to:
- nominate candidates for office
- run for office
- cast a secret ballot
- protest the conduct of an election
- Local union
members have the right to an adequate procedure for the removal of
an elected officer guilty of serious misconduct.
Unions may only be
placed in trusteeship by a parent body for the reasons specified in
A union or any of its officials may not fine, expel, or otherwise
discipline a member for exercising any LMRDA right.
one may use or threaten to use force or violence to interfere with a
union member in the exercise of LMRDA rights.
officers have a duty to manage the funds and property of the union
solely for the benefit of the union and its members in accordance
with the union's constitution and bylaws. Union officers or
employees who embezzle or steal union funds or other assets commit a
Federal crime punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment.
Union officers or
employees who handle union funds or property must be bonded to
provide protection against losses if their union has property and
annual financial receipts which exceed $5,000.
Union officers must:
- file an initial information report (Form LM-1) and annual
financial reports (Forms LM-2/3/4) with OLMS.
- retain the records necessary to verify the reports for at
least five years.
officers and employees must file reports concerning any loans and
benefits received from, or certain financial interests in, employers
whose employees their unions represent and businesses that deal with
- Unions must:
- hold elections of officers of local unions by secret ballot at
least every three years.
- conduct regular elections in accordance with their
constitution and bylaws and preserve all records for one year.
- mail a notice of election to every member at least 15 days
prior to the election.
- comply with a candidate's request to distribute campaign
- not use union funds or resources to promote any candidate (nor
may employer funds or resources be used).
- permit candidates to have election observers.
- allow candidates to inspect the union's membership list once
within 30 days prior to the election.
person convicted of certain crimes may not serve as a union officer,
employee, or other representative of a union for up to 13 years.
A union may not have
outstanding loans to any one officer or employee that in total
exceed $2,000 at any time.
A union may not pay the
fine of any officer or employee convicted of any willful violation
of the LMRDA.