Court Frees Affiliates From Fiscal Disclosure

By Bess Keller — April 26, 2005 1 min read

Most state affiliates of the two national teachers’ unions remain free for now of financial-disclosure reporting that the U.S. Department of Labor had sought to impose on them.

The U.S. District Court in Washington ruled March 31 that financial-disclosure provisions of labor law applying only to private-sector unions or unions with at least one private-sector worker as a member do not affect union affiliates without such workers.

Thirty-three affiliates of the National Education Association and seven affiliates of the American Federation of Teachers brought a court challenge against the Labor Department a year ago. None of those affiliates represents members in the private sector.

Other affiliates of the unions, however, do have members who work in the private sector, and therefore, must abide by the federal reporting rules.

The department argued that because the parent organizations include private-sector workers and must comply with the disclosure requirements of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act, known as the Landrum-Griffin law, so should the affiliates.

Robert H. Chanin, the NEA lawyer representing his union’s affiliates, said the victory was especially important because the reporting requirements have become more detailed and “burdensome” under the Bush administration.

The Labor Department has not yet announced whether it will appeal the ruling.