The Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act

The Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) was passed in 1959 after hearings by the McClellan committee in the Senate exposed corrupt practices in a few unions. This law requires certain democratic practices in unions and financial reporting to the Labor Department.

The first title of the Act is known as the Bill of Rights for union members. All members are granted equal rights and privileges:
• to nominate candidates in union elections;
• to vote in union elections or referendums;
• to attend meetings;
• to participate in deliberations and voting on the business of the meetings, subject to reasonable rules and regulations in such organization's constitution and bylaws.

Members are also granted the rights to freedom of speech and assembly. For example, they can set up meetings, print and distribute flyers, and circulate petitions about union matters. Unions may not take disciplinary actions against members for their criticisms. Officers must recognize members who want to speak at union meetings and must keep order when opponents try to speak at meetings.

Under the Bill of Rights, dues increases must be passed by secret ballot vote of the members or at a union convention, after reasonable notice. Members also have the right to sue in court or to appeal to government agencies, but members must try to exhaust their internal remedies under the union constitution and bylaws for not more than 4 months. If a union tries to fine or expel a member for a violation of a union rule, the union member is entitled to written and specific charges, a reasonable time to prepare a defense, and a full and fair hearing. All of the provisions of the Bill of Rights must be enforced by law suits in Federal courts.

Unions are required to file copies of their constitutions and bylaws and annual financial reports with the Department of Labor (DOL) under Title II of the Act. The reports contain information about officers’ salaries and expenses, as well as other union expenditures.

  Union Cities
toll free:1-888-581-3124