The U.S. Labor Department last month surpassed 900 criminal convictions for union corruption dating to the start of the Bush administration. The milestone is incredible evidence that union bosses continue to lie, cheat and steal despite greater transparency of their finances.
For the last fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, the Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) obtained 102 convictions and 130 indictments for cases mostly involving embezzlement of union funds. Restitution totaled more than $3.2 million -- money that will be returned to dues-paying union members.
Since 2001 the office has secured court orders of restitution totaling more than $91.5 million. Deputy Assistant Secretary Don Todd made this statement upon releasing the latest numbers:
The triple-digit numbers of indictments and convictions obtained by OLMS in the 2008 fiscal year demonstrates that criminal activity in unions is still a major problem. This problem points to the critical role performed by OLMS in prosecuting those who steal from their members.
Throughout the course of the past eight years, the Bush administration has made transparency of union finances a priority. The department established an excellent website, UnionReports.gov, which contains a vast amount of information about union financial reports and other documents required under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959. Democrats responded by cutting the office's budget last year.
Here's a complete list of criminal enforcement actions in 2008 alone.
Keep in mind that the top priority of a Democrat administration and Democrat-controlled Congress will be passing the so-called Employee Free Choice Act, better known as card check. As the new ad from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce so effectively demonstrates, this legislation will eliminate secret ballot organizing elections.
Given the type of corruption that has taken place over the past eight years, do we really want to give union bosses the power to bully workers into publicly signing union authorization cards?