Strength in Unity
Air Line Pilot, January 2004, p.36
Republican Lawmakers Seek Delay in New Union Reporting Rules
Twenty-two Republican U.S. House of Representatives members have asked the Bush Administration to delay implementing new union reporting rules that could cost local and national unions as much as $1 billion a year. The new rules were announced Oct. 3, 2003, less than 24 hours after the U.S. House of Representatives, spurred by union member lobbying, voted to block the Bush Administration attack on overtime pay protections.
The Bush action is "payback for workers’ overtime win" and "yet more evidence of the Administration’s blind determination to weaken workers’ organizations," says AFL-CIO President John Sweeney.
In a Nov. 6, 2003, letter spearheaded by Rep. Phil English (R-Pa.) and co-signed by 21 other Republicans, the Republican lawmakers noted they had urged the Bush Administration to withdraw the new rules as long ago as April 2003, when they sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao.
"We were both surprised and disappointed when the department decided to proceed anyway," the Republicans wrote to Joshua B. Bolten, director of the Office of Management and Budget.
The new rules are part of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act and involve what is called the LM-2 annual report that all unions file with the Labor Department.
The complicated new rules will require unions with more than $250,000 in income to completely revamp their accounting and financial record keeping by January 1 and to begin using new Department of Labor electronic filing forms.
Not given enough time
But as the representatives told Bolten, the Labor Department has not provided any software for the new LM-2 forms or any software to help unions convert information from their current accounting and record-keeping systems.
"These unions will have less than two months to purchase new computers, revamp their existing systems, train personnel, and perform related compliance tasks before January in order to track their finances under the new rule," they wrote.
In contrast, when the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission issued a new rule that required corporations to file financial information electronically, "the agency delayed implementation for 13 years, during which time it conducted voluntary and mandatory pilot [programs], stakeholder meetings, and gradual phase-ins to ensure that the system worked as planned," according to the lawmakers.
More oversight than for corporations
Unions already operate under far stricter financial reporting rules than do corporations, and the cost of following the new LM-2 requirements leaves fewer resources and less time available to unions for contract negotiations, grievance procedures, organizing, and other core union activities.
The House letter follows an Oct. 17, 2003, letter to Chao from Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) that expresses his disappointment with the refusal of Chao and her staff to meet with any representatives of the AFL-CIO before issuing the rules and asks that she direct her staff "to meet with the AFL-CIO to discuss the full impact of the new LM-2 rule."
Neither Chao nor any member of her staff has sought to meet with the AFL-CIO about the LM-2 issue.
AFL-CIO Transportation Union Group Elects New Officers
The member unions of the AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department (TTD), which includes ALPA, have elected Edward Wytkind as president and Michael Ingrao as secretary-treasurer. Electing them to these positions was the TTD’s Executive Committee, which consists of ALPA’s president, Capt. Duane Woerth, and the leaders of 34 other AFL-CIO transportation unions. The new officers assumed their duties on Dec. 1, 2003.
"It has been a tremendous honor to serve as the TTD’s executive director for more than a decade, and both Mike and I look forward to continuing to work on behalf of these great unions and their hard-working members," Wytkind said.
The election of Wytkind and Ingrao follows a recent TTD restructuring in which the president and the secretary-treasurer became full-time positions. These offices were formerly filled by leaders of international unions.
Under the reorganized TTD, former TTD President Sonny Hall, who is also president of the Transport Workers Union, will continue as a member of the TTD’s Executive Committee and will serve as the first chair of the organization’s newly created Financial Oversight Subcommittee, which will provide oversight for TTD’s financial affairs. Former TTD Secretary-Treasurer Patricia Friend, who is also president of the Association of Flight Attendants, will continue to serve on the Executive Committee and become a member of the Financial Oversight Subcommittee.
Wytkind served as the TTD’s executive director for almost 13 years, testifying frequently before Congress and representing member unions before the Executive Branch and various independent agencies. In recent years, he has coordinated efforts with TTD affiliates to respond to the economic and jobs crisis of the airline industry in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks; new transportation security mandates; proposed legislation to weaken the collective bargaining rights of airline pilots and other transportation workers; and federal funding for airports, air traffic control, Amtrak, mass transit, highways, and ports.
Ingrao was the TTD’s chief of staff since 1999, with more than 25 years of experience in the labor movement, 17 of which were spent in the national AFL-CIO’s Political Department. In addition to managing the day-to-day financial affairs for the organization, Ingrao will continue to direct the TTD’s political program.
For more information on the TTD, visit www.ttd.org.
Road Musical Added to AFL-CIO Boycott List
The AFL-CIO has added the non-Equity road production of the musical "Miss Saigon" to its national boycott list at the request of the Actors’ Equity Association, the union representing 45,000 stage actors and stage managers in live productions.
A production of Big League Theatricals, "Miss Saigon" is the company’s second road show on the AFL-CIO boycott list. The road production of "The Music Man" went on the list in August 2001.
Actors’ Equity has mounted a national campaign under the slogan "Fair Wages All Stages" to publicize the growing problem of non-Equity road shows produced by Big League Theatricals and other companies. Equity President Patrick Quinn says that Equity actors worked 21,000 weeks on tour over the last year, compared to some 44,000 weeks on tour 5 years ago.
He notes that Big League Theatricals charges ticket prices similar to those for Equity shows without paying similar wages and benefits. According to the union, producers believe that more money can be made on the road than on Broadway. Consequently, they are increasingly entering into licensing agreements with non-Equity producers to avoid contractual agreements for Equity shows.
Quinn says that actors and stage managers in the non-Equity productions receive very small salaries and negligible per-diems and health insurance packages.