OLMS Issues Guidance on Union-Busting Consultant Reporting

This week, the Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) took a significant step toward ensuring transparency and worker protection by issuing a Fact Sheet aimed at addressing deficiencies in disclosures from union-busting consultants. As reported by LaborLab in 2022, only 18% of these consultants, also known as labor relations consultants, were filing the required reports on time, granting them and their employer clients an unfair advantage over organizing workers. Additionally, LaborLab has documented hundreds of instances with critically important information missing from these filings, further hindering worker awareness.

This Fact Sheet from OLMS marks a crucial step forward in enforcing Section 203 of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA). This section establishes essential reporting and record-keeping requirements for both employers and labor relations consultants engaged in activities that could impact workers’ rights to organize and bargain collectively.

Key takeaways:

  • Transparency Requirement: Established in 1959, the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) mandates financial transparency from various entities in labor relations, including labor relations consultants.
  • Reporting Obligation: Consultants must file reports (Form LM-20) within 30 days of agreements with employers regarding union organizing activities.
  • Improvements Needed: Despite an increase in filings, OLMS identified issues like late submissions and incomplete information. Examples include delaying reports until after elections and failing to adequately describe activities or objectives.
  • Fact Sheet Released: To address these concerns, OLMS issued a fact sheet outlining common errors and expectations for accurate reporting.

Summary of the OLMS Fact Sheet on Avoiding Common Errors on Form LM-20 Report:

This fact sheet from the Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) helps labor relations consultants avoid common mistakes when filing Form LM-20 reports. Here are the key points:

What needs to be reported:

  • Consultants need to file Form LM-20 when they have agreements with employers to:
    • Persuade employees about their rights to organize and bargain collectively.
    • Direct supervisors to persuade employees about these rights.
    • Provide employers with specific information about employee or union activities related to labor disputes.

Common errors:

  • Filing late: The report needs to be filed within 30 days of the agreement, not after the election.
  • Subconsultant issues:
    • Not identifying or incorrectly identifying subconsultants.
    • Subconsultants failing to file their own reports or filing late.
    • Subconsultants not differentiating between the employer and the primary consultant in their reports.
  • Incorrect information:
    • Not checking the appropriate boxes for the type of activity (persuading or supplying information).
    • Failing to attach written agreements or provide detailed descriptions of terms, conditions, and specific activities.
    • Using initials, abbreviations, or nicknames instead of full names for people involved.
  • Not amending reports: Failing to file an amended report when the agreement or activities change.
  • Not filing Form LM-21: Failing to file a separate report on receipts and disbursements related to the agreement.