Letter Supporting Sen. Sessions' Amendment to H.R. 3043, the "Department of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008"
October 18, 2007
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world's largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, strongly supports an amendment expected to be offered by Sen. Sessions to increase funding for the Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) in H.R. 3043, the "Department of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008."
As you know, OLMS is the principle agency charged with combating union corruption and ensuring that workers have access to important information that can help them make the important decision about whether to join or form a union and to help union members learn about the functioning of the union to which they belong. Information maintained by OLMS is also helpful to workers attempting to decide whether to exercise their rights under Communications Workers of America v. Beck and withhold union dues or fees that would be used for political and other non-representational purposes. Ensuring that unions function in a transparent, non-corrupt manner also benefits businesses with collective bargaining relationships to ensure that unions are motivated by the best interests of their members, not some ulterior motive.
While the Chamber has not always agreed with OLMS interpretations of union financial disclosure laws, there can be no doubt that the recent progress made in reforming union financial disclosures has helped enforce union corruption laws, enhanced the ability of workers to make informed decisions, and improved union accountability to members. The base bill's decrease in OLMS funding is especially ironic in this era of increased transparency and reporting requirements for businesses.
Restoring $2 million in funding would significantly help this small agency continue its important work. It should be noted that while such an increase would significantly help OLMS, in the context of the Labor Department's discretionary budget in excess of $11 billion, its impact would be inconsequential on the bottom line.
For these reasons, the Chamber strongly supports Sen. Sessions' amendment to restore OLMS funding and may consider votes on, or in relation to, this issue in our annual How They Voted scorecard.
R. Bruce Josten