Is This Union Illegally Keeping Its Finances From The Government?

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In a letter to the federal government, a political advocacy group is trying to bring attention to a union which has failed for years to disclose its financial records.

In the letter, which was obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation, the advocacy group Americans For Limited Government Research Foundation detailed to the U.S. Department of Labor that Local 577 of the Transport Workers has failed for years to disclose its financial records. Local 577 represents Allegiant Air flight attendants.

“I write today to bring to your attention a matter of an apparent failure by the Transport Workers Local 577 (TWU Local 577) to file reports required under the Labor- Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA),” the letter detailed.

Shortly after approval by the National Mediation Board in late 2010, the TWU formed Local 577. The letter argues that in the years to follow, Local 577 has engaged in various representational activities but has not filed financial disclosure forms with the DOL.

“While the International itself files annual financial reports in apparent compliance with the LMRDA, TWU Local 577 has not,” the letter detailed. “A review of the OLMS database reveals that no filings for TWU Local 577 have been received. A call to the OLMS Disclosure Room confirmed that no filings for TWU Local 577 have been received.”

Thom McDaniel, the international vice president for the TWU, argues that Local 577 does not actually have to disclose its financial records because it does not yet have a ratified contract.

“They do not fall under a ratified contract,” McDaniel told TheDCNF. “Because of that they fall under the Organizing Department of the TWU.”

McDaniel noted that the union wants a contract but management has been unfriendly throughout the entire organizing process.

“The company started stonewalling us,” McDaniel notes. “The CEO doesn’t want a union.”

McDaniel argued that because it has been unable to work with the company to ratify a contract, any expenses Local 577 has created falls under organizing expenses which is filed by TWU International.

Nathan Mehrens, the president of ALG, argued that is not true and in fact having a ratified contract does not matter under the law.

“Whether a contract is ratified is irrelevant under the LMRDA when determining whether a local labor organization is covered by the Act,” Mehrens told TheDCNF. “If TWU didn’t want to follow the LMRDA’s requirements for local labor organizations, it should not have created Local 577.”

“The fact is that they did create a local labor organization and they should follow the requirements of the law,” he added.

The letter argues that Local 577 falls under the definition of a labor organization, which must disclose its financial records, as defined in Section 3(i) of the LMRDA.

That section of the act details, “’Labor organization’ means a labor organization engaged in an industry affecting commerce and includes any organization of any kind, any agency, or employee representation committee, group, association, or plan so engaged in which employees participate and which exists for the purpose, in whole or in part, of dealing with employers concerning grievances, labor disputes, wages, rates of pay, hours, or other terms or conditions of employment, and any conference, general committee, joint or system board, or joint council so engaged which is subordinate to a national or international labor organization, other than a State or local central body.”

The letter notes that the airline industry is in an industry affecting commerce and because of that Local 577 is covered by the LMRDA.

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