LaborLab Report: Alarming Rate of Delinquent Filings by Labor Relations Consultants Threatens Worker Rights

The Form LM-21 is a report mandated under the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) for labor relations consultants, lawyers, and similar organizations detailing financial transactions related to labor relations activities (i.e. “union-busting”), including payments received from employers. The LM-21 report plays a vital role in protecting the rights of workers by promoting transparency in the relationship between corporations and the labor relations consultants they hire. Each LM-21 not filed means we know even less about the secretive labor relations industry raking in millions of dollars every year to combat the rights of workers under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). 

Beginning on November 1, 2023, LaborLab reported to the Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) the number of 2021 LM-20 filers who had not yet filed their 2021 LM-21 reports as required by law, as well as the number of 2022 LM-20 filers who had not yet filed their 2022 LM-21 reports. We repeated this analysis three months later in February 2024 and have now completed a six-month follow-up.

The findings from our most recent analysis of delinquent LM-21s are extremely disappointing. 

On November 1, 2023, there were 58 2021 LM-20 filers who still had not filed their required LM-21 report for 2021. Three months later, that number was down by one, to 57 and, now six months later, it is still at 57. What is particularly disturbing is that fourteen of these 57 had filed an LM-21 report in an adjacent year to 2021, so they can hardly claim ignorance. 

While it is certainly true that 28 of the 57 filed only one LM-20 in 2021, ten of them had filed an LM-21 in an adjacent year. But one of them, Labor Management Associates, filed twelve LM-20s in 2021 and yet did not file an LM-21 for that year. Note that they did manage to file an LM-21 in 2023. The instructions are clear—the filing of just one LM-20 requires the consultant to file an annual report, Form LM-21, within ninety days of the close of the fiscal year in which that LM-20 was filed. The rate of delinquent filings of LM-21s is completely unacceptable, but not just for 2021.

It’s clear that many consultants simply don’t take the filing of the Form LM-21 seriously, perhaps because of the continuation of the 2016 OLMS Special Enforcement Policy, but we note that they are still required to report in Part D expenditures to subcontractors and that even though not required to itemize receipts by employer clients, many of them do.

Some of the 2021 non-filers are hardly “newbies.” For example, Lev Labor, hired by Amazon and other large employers, has failed to file its 2021 LM-21 report. 

For 2022, on November 1, 2023, we reported thirty-three (33) LM-20 filers who had not filed their required 2022 LM-21 report. In February 2024, that number dropped by two to 31 and six months later, it is still holding steady at 31. While several of these have filed only one LM-20 (we have provided hyperlinks to these LM-20s to OLMS in the February report), a number have filed multiple reports and some are major consultants, such as HMD.

This failure to crossmatch LM-20s with LM-21s by the persuader consultants is a long-standing one. A 1984 U.S. House Subcommittee (“The Forgotten Law: Disclosure of Consultant and Employer Activity Under the LMDRA”, Report of the Subcommittee on Labor-Management Relations, House Committee on Education and Labor, December 1984) reported that only 62% of consultants bothered to file an LM-21 form based upon a sample they extracted. Nowadays, with digital filings, it is a simple matter to construct a spreadsheet of unique LM-20 filers and crossmatch it with LM-21 filers for the same years. This is exactly what LaborLab does, the process takes extraordinarily little time, and we would be happy to share our methodology with OLMS.

We will soon begin to crossmatch 2023 LM-20 with LM-21 filings and report on that, but we hope that OLMS will devote significant resources to curing this delinquency problem.