For 55 years, employees working in the private sector who are members of labor organizations have been protected by the federal Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, also known as the Landrum-Griffin Act.[*] For the last 10 years, the financial reporting regulations that implement the LMRDA have provided union members, the government and the public a good level of transparency concerning labor organization finances.

Public sector employees at the state and local level who are union members, however, usually are not afforded this benefit, because the LMRDA’s coverage does not reach them. This paper explains the differences in financial reporting for private sector unions and public sector unions in the state of Michigan; it shows the benefits of financial disclosure; and it suggests how to improve transparency standards for Michigan’s public sector unions.

[*] A “labor organization,” as defined by section 3(i) of the LMRDA, is a part of a subset of the universe of labor unions. When used in this paper, “labor organization” refers to a labor union that is covered by the LMRDA. 29 U.S.C. § 402(i).