A congressman from Southwest Florida is happy to see the U.S. Department of Labor picking up a proposal he brought out last year adding more transparency in unions’ finances by bringing back rules ended by the Obama administration.
Early last year, U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Fla., introduced the House version of the “Union Transparency and Accountability Act,” a proposal championed by U.S. Sen. John Thune, R-SD, in recent years.
“The rules required unions to disclose financial interests in trusts that receive more than half of their income from unions, provide details on the buying and selling of assets, and provide information on potential conflicts-of-interest,” Thune’s office noted, insisting the legislation “would ensure officers act in good faith when spending members’ dues.”
“Transparency within unions is critical to root out corruption and hold union bosses accountable,” Rooney said when he unveiled the House version back in March 2018. “Unfortunately, the Obama administration repealed rules that increased financial transparency within unions to protect workers from misuse of their dues. I am introducing the Union Transparency and Accountability Act to reinstate rules which will require unions and their leaders to submit detailed financial disclosures to prevent fraud and embezzlement.
“Further, I am encouraged that a priority in President Trump’s FY ’19 budget proposal is holding unions accountable,” Rooney added. “The Union Transparency and Accountability Act would assist in achieving the goal of protecting union members and empowering them to hold their local unions accountable.”
The Trump administration is now proposing to have the Labor Department adopt Thune’s and Rooney’s proposal and is taking comments and input from the public through the end of July.
Rooney weighed in on Monday and was happy to see his idea gaining traction in Washington.
“Transparency within unions is critical to protect workers and root out corruption by holding union bosses accountable,” Rooney said. “I am encouraged by the administration’s commitment making transparency a priority and holding unions leaders accountable. This rule seeks to prevent fraud and embezzlement by union bosses, one of my key priorities.”