Lessons for Michigan

As the description above shows, the Form LM-2 gives labor organization members, government officials, and the public a wealth of information that can help them keep union officials accountable. While no disclosure regime is perfect, the information provided by the Form LM-2 gives union members the ability to easily find the most important information on the financial practices of labor organizations they support with their union dues.

The Form LM-2 is filed electronically with the U.S. Department of Labor and most of the data can be imported directly from an accounting program that most labor organizations already use.

The reports are posted online at www.unionreports.gov. Labor organizations’ reports can be viewed there, and users can compare data between different unions. Additionally, the customized data reports can be generated and downloaded, allowing users to compare data from different unions and states over multiple years. This comprehensive database provides information going back to 2000, and detailed data from 2005 forward.

In stark contrast, the information publicly available for Michigan’s public sector unions is severely lacking. There are only three lines of information that report only summary data. There is no database of information to use for running comparisons. There is no raw data to download. All of this puts members of Michigan public sector unions in a much different position than their private sector counterparts. While private sector union members can perform a review of their union’s itemized expenditures, there is no comparable information available for public sector union members, who find it much more difficult to determine whether their officers have been good stewards of their money and to exercise their democratic rights within the union.