SPRINGFIELD, Va. – National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation President Mark Mix made the following statement on the Department of Labor’s announced changes in union financial disclosure requirements:
"Employees have long been kept in the dark as to how union officials spend their compulsory union dues. However, the new regulations issued today by the Department of Labor betray the goal of creating meaningful financial transparency contemplated at the beginning of this process. As part of an apparent effort to soften the blow to union officials who have opposed the notion of increasing union accountability from day one, several substantial, last-minute concessions were made.
"For example, the threshold for itemization of expenditures was raised to $5,000 from an originally proposed level of $250 (and later $2,000), allowing the concealment of a vast majority of union disbursements. The new disclosure requirements also fail to require any kind of independent audit or verification -- an exemption that companies and non-profit organizations do not enjoy. And last, distinct categories of expenditures have been arbitrarily lumped together -- such as lobbying and political activism and organizing and contract administration -- thwarting employees from learning to what extent union officials are playing politics or recruiting more members to their private ideological cause using mandatory union dues.
"This last-minute gutting of the regulations betrays President Bush's goal of creating meaningful union transparency. This entire process further demonstrates that the only way to rein in union corruption is to eliminate the special privileges union officials enjoy to force employees to join or support a union in the first place."