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U.S. Department of Labor Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS)

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1 U.S. Department of Labor Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS)
My name is _____________. I'm a(n) __________(title) with the Office of Labor-Management Standards' ____________ District Office. In this presentation, we’ll discuss union officer elections under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act or LMRDA. Note that you can insert a slide after this one that lists the address and phone number of your district office. Select “Insert” on the toolbar and “New Slide” from the drop-down menu. Choose “Title Slide” (the first option) and fill in the appropriate spaces. Union Officer Elections Under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA)

2 The OLMS Mission Financial recordkeeping and reporting
Administer the LMRDA Financial recordkeeping and reporting Ensuring union democracy Safeguarding union assets Briefly explain how OLMS administers the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act. Financial recordkeeping and reporting Reports filed by labor organizations Reports filed by employers and labor consultants Reports filed by union officials Ensuring union democracy: Election and trusteeship investigations Election supervisions Safeguarding union assets: Embezzlement investigations Compliance Audit Program Bonding investigations

3 Assets and Reporting LM reports (Title II)
Bonding investigations (Title V) Audits (Titles II & V): Recordkeeping Reporting Embezzlement LMRDA Title II requires unions -- and in certain circumstances, officers, employers, and labor consultants -- to file LM reports. Those reports are filed with OLMS. OLMS conducts investigations to collect delinquent LM reports and to get deficient reports filed correctly. LMRDA Title V requires unions to be bonded for 10% of all funds handled. OLMS conducts investigations to ensure unions are properly bonded. OLMS conducts compliance audits to ensure unions follow the LMRDA’s recordkeeping and reporting requirements. OLMS also audits unions in cases of embezzlement.

4 Union Democracy Investigate complaints: Trusteeships (Title III)
Officer Elections (Title IV) Supervise elections when OLMS investigations find violations that may have affected outcome LMRDA Titles III & IV concern union democracy. OLMS investigates complaints filed by union members about trusteeships under LMRDA Title III. OLMS investigates complaints filed by union members about officer elections under Title IV. During a Title IV investigation, if OLMS finds violations that may have affected election outcome, OLMS will seek to supervise a rerun.

5 LMRDA Title IV Section 401:
Sets minimum standards for regularly scheduled elections of officers, and Incorporates unions’ constitutions as part of the standards. Section 402 covers procedures for filing election complaints with OLMS. We’ve had an overview of what OLMS does. Let’s specifically look at LMRDA Title IV. Section 401 sets minimum standards for regularly scheduled officer elections. That means vacancy elections aren’t covered by the LMRDA. Section 401 also incorporates your union’s constitution and bylaws into the law’s election standards. You can have constitutional standards in addition to the minimum required by law as long as they don’t conflict with the LMRDA. LMRDA Section 402 establishes procedures for filing election complaints with OLMS.

6 Frequency of Elections
At Least … Local - Every 3 years Intermediate - Every 4 years National and International - Every 5 Years Officers of local unions must be elected by secret ballot among the members in good standing at least once every three years. Intermediate bodies include joint councils, conferences, systems boards, systems councils, and general committees. The officers of an intermediate body must be elected at least once every four years either directly by secret ballot among the members in good standing or indirectly by delegates who have been elected by secret ballot among all members in good standing of the local union they represent. Officers of a national or international union must be elected at least once every five years either directly by secret ballot among the members in good standing or indirectly by delegates who have been elected by secret ballot among all members in good standing of the local union they represent.

7 Who Must Be Elected ? Officers named in union constitution
Members of union executive board or similar governing body All who have policymaking or executive authority regardless of title Convention delegates who elect officers of a international or national union or intermediate body The Act defines officer as “any constitutional officer, any person authorized to perform the functions of president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, or other executive functions of a labor organization, and any member of its executive board or similar governing body.” A constitutional officer is any person holding a position identified as an officer by the union’s constitution and bylaws. All constitutional officers must be elected, even if they do not perform any executive functions. Convention delegates who elect officers must themselves be elected. In many cases the business agent or business representative of a union has duties that result in his position falling within the definition of “officer.” If he has primary responsibility for the control and management of the union’s funds and fiscal operations, he would be considered an officer. Who doesn’t have to be elected under the LMRDA? Generally, union stewards or committeemen aren’t covered by the LMRDA unless they sit on the Executive Board. They may have to be elected under your union’s rules, but LMRDA standards don’t apply.

8 Who Can Run for Office ? Any member in good standing
Member in good standing usually means someone who is current in dues Subject to reasonable qualifications in the constitution and bylaws that are uniformly imposed Persons not barred from holding union office under Section 504 of the LMRDA LMRDA Section 401 states that any member in good standing shall be eligible to be a candidate and to hold office. Member in good standing is defined as “any person who has fulfilled the requirements of membership in such organization, and who neither has voluntarily withdrawn from membership nor has been expelled or suspended from membership after appropriate proceedings.” Candidacy is subject to LMRDA Section 504 and reasonable qualifications uniformly imposed. LMRDA Section 504 is in the back of “Conducting Local Union Officer Elections: A Guide for Election Officials.” Section 504 prohibits people convicted of certain crimes from holding union office or employment for 13 years after such conviction or after the end of such imprisonment, whichever is later. Those crimes include murder, assault with intent to harm, arson, narcotics violations, embezzlement, theft and recordkeeping and reporting violations under the LMRDA.

9 Examples of Officer Qualifications
Minimum length of membership (not to exceed two years) Continuous good standing (not to exceed two years) Active membership status Working at the craft Unions can impose qualifications for office, but they must apply equally to all members. Candidate eligibility requirements must be specific enough so that any member can determine in advance whether or not he or she is qualified. If an election official believes that a candidacy qualification in the union’s constitution/bylaws may be unreasonable, consult with the local or parent body official responsible for interpreting the provision to discuss whether it should be waived. OLMS and the courts have held these qualifications to be proper: Unions can require a minimum length of membership (not to exceed two years). Unions can require candidates to have been in continuous good standing for a period not to exceed two years. Unions can require candidates to be in good standing, i.e., their dues, fees, and assessments are fully paid.

10 More Examples: Officer Qualifications
Completed apprenticeships Excluding employers Meeting attendance What is the impact? Unions can require candidates to be graduates of standard apprenticeship programs. Unions can exclude employers from running for office. Meeting attendance rules must be reasonable. Reasonableness is gauged upon a number of factors including: Period (may not exceed two years). Percentage of meetings (may not exceed 50%). Availability of excuse provisions. Members’ opportunity to attend meetings (time and place). Percentage of members disqualified by rule. Impact alone may make the rule unreasonable (Doyle -v- Brock, D.C. District Court, 1987, 97% disqualified).

11 Nominations The nominations notice must reach all members within a reasonable time before nominations. Every union member must be given a “reasonable opportunity” to nominate the candidates of their choice. LMRDA Section 401 requires that unions give a reasonable opportunity for the nomination of candidates. That means unions must ensure that members are notified of nominations so they can participate. The LMRDA doesn’t specify a time period for issuing a nominations notice, but it can’t be too close to or too far from the time of the nominations process to exclude members from participating. Unions aren’t restricted to just one method of notification.

12 Nomination Notice ***NOMINATIONS MEETING***
Nominations for: President, Vice President, Secretary & Treasurer (Candidates selected as President and Vice President will also serve as delegates to the International Union Convention held in St. Louis, Missouri in August 2005) When: November 18, 2004 at 7:00 pm Where: Local 1 Union Hall, 123 Main St., Gotham City How: Nominations will be taken from the floor at the meeting. What has to be in the nomination notice? The notice must contain: A list of the offices to be filled (Identify positions that are delegates by virtue of office), Date for submitting nominations, Time for submitting nominations, Place for submitting nominations, and Method for submitting nominations. A sample Nomination Notice is on page 11 and a sample Nomination and Election Notice is on page 34 of “A Guide for Election Officials.”

13 Examples of Notification Methods
Mail to members’ homes Publish in union newspaper Post at work sites Combine with election notice Must mail combined notice to members’ homes Unions can mail notices to members’ homes. Notices can be published in union newspapers/newsletters, but the notice must be prominent. Notices can be posted at work sites in locations where all members can be expected to see them. Unions can combine the nomination notice with the election notice, but a combined notice must be mailed to members’ homes. Steps must be taken to notify members who are eligible to nominate candidates but who may not see a posted notice at a worksite due to sickness, laid-off or nonworking status.

14 Provisions for Accepting Nomination
Determine nominee presence at meeting and if he or she accepts nomination. If formal nomination acceptance is required, an acceptance procedure with a reasonable deadline should be announced in advance. Any nominee unable to attend the nomination meeting should be allowed to submit a written acceptance. A union should not require that members be present at a nomination meeting in order to accept their nomination for office. After each nomination is made, the person conducting nominations should determine if the nominee is present and accepts the nomination in order to prevent any misunderstanding about who is running for which office. If the union requires a nominee to formally accept the nomination, an acceptance procedure with a reasonable deadline should be established and announced in advance. Any nominee who is unable to attend the nomination meeting should be allowed to submit a written acceptance.

15 Candidate Eligibility Letters
It is important that the union maintain adequate and reliable records to verify that each nominee meets or fails to meet candidacy requirements. After the nomination meeting, election officials should review those records (such as dues payment records) to determine eligibility. If questions arise about a candidate eligibility requirement, election officials should seek interpretations from parent body officials or guidance from prior election officials. Election officials should work as a team in reaching agreement on the eligibility of all candidates. Subsequent to checking and making candidate eligibility decisions, election officials should notify each candidate in writing of their final determination on eligibility. Ineligible candidates should be notified of the specific reason(s) why they are not eligible to hold office. Sample eligibility letters are on pages 17 and 18 of “A Guide for Election Officials,” and they are pictured in this slide.

16 Every candidate must be given a reasonable opportunity to campaign.
The union must give every candidate a reasonable opportunity to campaign. Every candidate must be given a reasonable opportunity to campaign.

17 Campaign Rules A union must distribute campaign literature for a bona fide candidate. Each candidate must be treated equally regarding distribution of literature. The union has an affirmative duty to comply with all reasonable requests to distribute campaign literature. The union may not censor the contents of campaign literature. A union must distribute campaign literature for a bona fide candidate seeking to be nominated who makes a request, even if a union rule prohibits campaign mailings prior to nominations. A bona fide candidate is one who declares his intention to be a candidate for office, or is actively seeking office, and is otherwise eligible. Each candidate must be treated equally with respect to the cost of distribution of campaign literature. There is no requirement that the union distribute the literature free of charge. However, if a union distributes any candidate’s literature at no charge, all other candidates are entitled to have their literature distributed on the same basis. The union has an affirmative duty to comply with all reasonable requests to distribute campaign literature. The union cannot limit the number of mailings which a candidate is permitted to make. A union must honor requests for distribution to only a portion of the membership if such distribution is feasible. A union should hire temporary staff or use a professional mailer if the union claims their staff is too small to handle reasonable mailing requests. The union may not censor the contents of campaign literature. However, the union does have a right to limit the length and format of a candidate’s campaign material when the mailing is done at the union’s expense under pre-determined conditions, e. g. newspaper devoted to candidates’ view. SOL has issued an opinion that the contents may not be censored by the union even if the mailing is at union expense. The union may however publish and prescribe objective criteria to be applied on a uniform basis. All candidates should be given prior notice of these criteria.

18 All Candidates Must Receive Equal Treatment
Membership & employer lists Access to work sites A candidate’s right to inspect the union’s membership list is limited to a list of members (and their addresses) who are subject to a collective bargaining agreement which requires union membership as a condition of employment. If union or employer funds, assets or opportunities are afforded to one candidate, they must be given to all. This includes: Access to union membership lists. Access to employer work site lists. Access to work sites for campaigning. If one candidate is given a certain opportunity, then all candidates must be given the same opportunity or privilege. If election officials discover that a candidate has used a “personal” mailing list which was created or obtained as a result of the candidate (or supporter) serving as an officer or in a union job, the list should be made available to all other candidates. All members have the right to express their views under Title I of the LMRDA. Current officers and union employees should be cautioned to take vacation time or a leave of absence if they are going to campaign during work hours, especially on election day.

19 Do Not Use Union or Employer Funds For Campaigning
Office equipment and supplies Facilities (buildings, cars, etc.) Publications and correspondence Time (salaries, work hours) Cash Applies to direct and indirect expenditures LMRDA Section 401 prohibits the use of union or employer funds for campaigning. This restriction applies to any union and any employer, not just those involved in the election. Funds means property and intangibles, such as time, as well as cash and includes: Office equipment and supplies, such as copiers, postage meters, phones, paper, envelopes, computers, typewriters, etc. Union halls, employer work sites, union or employer vehicles, etc. Union newsletters, union correspondence, union letterhead, employer newsletters and correspondence. Campaigning on company or union time. Money from the union or employer treasuries. Unions should only use union funds to operate the election (notices, ballots, etc.). Sample union and employer prohibition letter on page 27 of “A Guide for Election Officials”.

20 Election Guarantees Members in good standing have the right to vote for candidate(s) of their choice. Elections for local union officers and delegates who elect officers must be conducted by secret ballot. “Member in good standing” is defined as any person who has fulfilled the requirements for membership and who has neither withdrawn from membership nor has been expelled or suspended from membership after appropriate proceedings consistent with lawful provisions of the constitution and bylaws. Section 401 guarantees that all union members shall have the right to vote for or otherwise support the candidates of their choice without being subject to penalty, discipline or improper interference or reprisal of any kind by the union. A union may condition the right to vote on the payment of dues, which is a basic obligation of membership. Such a rule must be applied uniformly. No one on dues checkoff can be denied the right to vote for delinquent dues if those dues were withheld by his employer. Unemployed or part-time members must be allowed to vote if they are otherwise in good standing. Unions may restrict the right to vote of apprentices and retired members. Section 401 also provides that elections for local union officers and delegates who elect officers must be conducted by secret ballot.

21 Election Notice Mailed to each member's home
No later than 15 days before the election Election date, time and place Specific offices to be filled Section 401 requires unions to mail election notices to every member, including non-working members, at his or her last known home address at least 15 days before the election. The notice must specify the offices to be filled and the date, time and place for the election. If you hold a mail ballot election, you can include the election notice in the ballot packet sent to voters as long as that mailing occurs no later than 15 days before the election. Sample election notices are on pages 33 and 34 of “A Guide for Election Officials.”

22 Secret Ballot Election
The act defines a secret ballot as “...the expression by ballot, voting machine, or otherwise, but in no event by proxy, of a choice with respect to any election or vote…cast in such a manner that the person expressing such choice cannot be identified with the choice expressed.” In all elections where secrecy is required, the union has an affirmative obligation to provide adequate accommodations for secret balloting and to ensure the members actually use the secret ballot accommodations provided. Regarding ballots: In elections, ballot instructions should clearly state the manner in which members must mark their ballots. Ballots can be set up to allow for slate voting but members must also have the opportunity to vote for individual candidates if they do not wish to vote for a slate. Unions should use fair and reasonable methods for determining the order of candidates on the ballot. Unions should have prepared a complete, accurate voter eligibility list. If members are widely dispersed, multiple voting sites or mail balloting should be provided. The voter eligibility list should be split if multiple voting sites are involved. If a member is not on a particular list, then they have to vote a challenged ballot (discuss later). Union members working a late shift must be afforded the opportunity to vote. See page 38 of “A Guide for Election Officials” for a sample ballot.

23 Ballot Secrecy Voting booth Voting machine
Double envelope mail ballot elections Secrecy can be assured by the use of voting machines, or if paper ballots are used, by providing voting booths, partitions, screens, curtains, separate voting room, or other physical arrangements which ensure privacy for the voters while they mark their ballots. In mail ballot elections, a double envelope system, where the member is required to place identifying information on the outside envelope and the voted ballot is sealed in the second envelope placed inside the outer envelope, the secrecy of the ballot is ensured. The secrecy of a voted ballot that is challenged must be maintained. Normally this is accomplished by the use of the double envelope system. Secrecy is not required for intermediate officer or national/international union officer elections held at conventions by delegates who themselves were elected by secret ballot unless prescribed in the union’s constitution and bylaws. See page 39 in “A Guide for Election Officials” regarding setting up a polling place.

24 Mail Ballot Put ballot in here Secret Ballot U.S. Use 2 post Joe Smith
office boxes: 1 for undelivered ballots 1 for voted ballots U.S. Joe Smith 111 West Huron St. Auburn, IL 62222 To protect voter secrecy in a mail ballot election: Voters first place their ballots in secret ballot envelopes that do not contain identifying information about the voters. They then place the secret ballot envelopes in an outer envelope used for mailing. Voters must identify themselves in the return address portion of the outer envelope so the election committee can determine eligibility at the tally. The union should rent two post office boxes solely for the mail ballot election. One post office box should be for undeliverable ballot packets. This is the post office box that serves as the return address when mailing ballot packets to voters. The election committee should establish a schedule with candidates and their observers to check the post office box regularly for undeliverable ballot packets. The election committee should actively seek new addresses for any undeliverable ballot packets. Keep a log of those activities. The second post office box is used for voted ballots and must only be accessed at the designated time on election day. See “Electing Local Union Officers by Mail” at the back of “A Guide for Election Officials.” Demonstrate for all participants the double envelope mail ballot contained in Manual. Local 1 Election Committee P.O. Box 2 Gotham, IL

25 Holding Elections Provide adequate safeguards Verify voter eligibility
Protect the ballots and voting process Count the votes of all members in good standing, unless challenged for legitimate reasons Section 401 requires unions to institute adequate safeguards to insure a fair election. Those safeguards include preparing a voter eligibility list and verifying voter eligibility whether at a polling site or during a mail ballot election. In a mail ballot election the union may use a control number on the return envelope to assist in voter identification. A member should be asked to print their name on the return envelope to help in the identification process. Check voter ID and have voters sign in. Be able to account for all ballots printed. The number of ballots printed minus those issued to voters should equal the number of unused ballots at the end of the election. Count all ballots, except those legitimately challenged. The act does not prescribe the form of the ballot. A determination as to the position of a candidate’s name on the ballot may be made by the union in a reasonable manner permitted by its constitution and bylaws. For example, candidates may be listed according to affiliation with a particular slate, alphabetically, in order of nomination, drawing names from a hat, etc.

26 Challenged Ballot The term “challenged ballot” refers to a ballot cast by a person whose eligibility to vote has been questioned by election officials, candidate observers, or members. Most questions concerning eligibility to vote , however, are the result of misunderstandings, administrative errors, or the failure to prepare an accurate voter eligibility list. Establish a challenged ballot process with a double envelope system and challenged ballot log. Mark the voter eligibility list with a “C” for any challenged ballots. Therefore, the voter whose eligibility is in question can cast a secret ballot and election officials can later review necessary records and resolve the eligibility question. Resolve challenged ballots as quickly as possible. See pages 47 to 49 of “A Guide for Election Officials” for guidelines for challenged ballots.

27 Observers Candidates’ observers allowed at polls and tally
In mail ballot elections, observers allowed at: Ballot mailing where envelopes are stuffed, labeled and mailed Any visits to the post office to pick-up undeliverables and r ballot packages Accompany election officials to pick up voted ballots, transport to tally, eligibility review Every candidate is entitled to have an observer at the polling site and at the counting of ballots. An observer is not required to be a member of the union unless the union’s constitution and bylaws, or established past practice, require an observer to be a member. Observers do not have the right to interfere with or disrupt the conduct of the election. Their role is limited to observing the process, asking procedural questions, challenging the eligibility of any individual voters, and lodging protests with election officials, as appropriate. Rules for observers are contained on page 52 of “A Guide for Election Officials.”

28 More Observer Requirements
Observers must: Be given reasonable opportunities to observe, Not assist the election officials in conducting the election, and Not engage in partisan activities inside the polling place. Common Observer Pitfalls: Not allowing adequate opportunity for observers to observe the voting process and the counting of ballots Allowing observers to help election officials during rush times at the polls or to sit in and provide “a break” for election officials Failing to inform observers in advance about what they will be allowed to do, and not do, at the polls and the ballot tally Permitting observers to campaign or engage in partisan conversations with voters at the polls Wearing campaign buttons, stickers or other campaign apparel Distributing literature Engaging in campaign activities inside the polling place including conversations about candidates or the election campaign

29 Tallying the Ballots Every vote on a valid ballot should be counted if the voter’s intent is clear. An entire ballot should not be voided unless it contains the voter’s name or other marks which identify the voter. Challenged ballots should be resolved early in the process. All ballots need to be accounted for, including those cast, unused, sample, challenged, spoiled and voided ballots. A union has a right to establish reasonable rules for determining the validity of ballots cast in an election. Where the union has no published guides for determining the validity of a voted ballot, it must count any ballot voted in such a way as to indicate fairly the intention of the voter. An entire ballot cannot be voided because of a mistake made in voting for one of the offices on the ballot. However, a ballot should not be counted if it contains any extraneous markings that can identify the voter of the ballot. Sample tally sheets and vote summary sheets are located on pages’ 56 and 57 respectively in “A Guide for Election Officials”.

30 Ballot Tally Certification
Election officials are responsible for providing a full accounting of the ballots cast in the election and announcing the results of the election to the membership. This sample “Ballot Tally Certification,” pictured above, which includes a ballot recap and the election results, can be used to fulfill both of these purposes. This sample “Ballot Tally Certification,” is located on page 63 in “A Guide for Election Officials”.

31 After the Election Announce and publish election results
Retain election records for one year After the tally, the union must publish the results in such a way that all members have a reasonable opportunity to see them. LMRDA Section 401 requires unions to retain election records for one year.

32 LMRDA Title IV I.M. Aggrieved Section 401 sets election standards.
Dear OLMS, I have an election complaint. Sincerely, I.M. Aggrieved Section 401 sets election standards. Section 402 contains procedures for filing an election complaint with OLMS.

33 Protesting Elections Under Section 402 of the act, any member may file an election complaint with the Secretary of Labor. Prior to filing a complaint with the Secretary, the member must have either exhausted or attempted to exhaust the remedies available under the union’s constitution and bylaws. Complaints to the Secretary should be in writing and filed with the nearest OLMS field office. To file an election complaint with the Secretary of Labor, the member must have been in good standing at the time he initiated his protest with the union and at the time he files with the Secretary. Any union member in good standing can file an election complaint with OLMS. The right to file a complaint is not limited to candidates in the contested election. A complainant must first follow the internal union protest procedures before he or she can file a complaint with OLMS. Internal protest procedures are normally described in a union’s constitution and bylaws. If the union does not have specific election appeals procedures, the member must invoke whatever appropriate appeals procedure may be available under the constitution and bylaws. If no appropriate appeals procedure exits, he should file the internal protest with various officials, such as the election committee, executive board members and parent bodies of the union. The member should list in his internal protest to the union all violations of which he is aware. The results of the challenged election are presumed valid pending a final decision of any protest.

34 File a Complaint with OLMS
Within 1 Calendar Month of: After a member initiates an internal protest, he or she has two choices for filing a complaint with OLMS. The member can file within one calendar month of receiving a final decision from the union, or If he or she hasn’t received a final decision, a member may file within one calendar month after three calendar months have elapsed from the date the internal protest was initiated. The date of invocation of the member’s internal protest is the date on which the complainant first took action to protest the election. If filed by mail, the date that the letter is mailed is controlling not the date of the letter or the date of receipt by the union. The one calendar month for filing with the Secretary begins on the date the final union answer is received or the day after the date on which the third calendar month expires. For the purposes of filing an election complaint with the Secretary, a calendar month means the period running from the given day of any month to the corresponding day or last day of the next month if there is no corresponding day, e.g., April 15 - May 15, May 31 - June 30. When the last day for the filing of a complaint with the Secretary falls on a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday, filing on the next day which is neither a Sunday or holiday is considered timely. Filing refers to the actual receipt by DOL, not the date of mailing by the complainant or the date of the complaint letter to the Secretary. Getting a final OR answer from the union on your protest Three (3) months after your initial union protest and no final response

35 Include in Your Protest
LMRDA violations Violations of constitution and bylaws Unreasonable application of election rules In your internal protest, include the following issues: Violations of the minimum standards in LMRDA Section 401. Violations of the union’s constitution and bylaws. Unreasonable application of election rules. OLMS cannot use as a basis for setting aside an election any issue or allegation that the complainant knows about but doesn’t include in the internal protest. What should the union do with a protest? Follow the constitution and bylaws. Thoroughly investigate the protest to see if it is true and whether there were violations that could have affected the outcome of the election. See page 64 in “A Guide for Election Officials” for information about handling election protests.

36 OLMS Complaint Must be in writing Can fax, but give OLMS the original
Attach copies of internal protest and union decisions Include your address and phone number Witnesses and other evidence Any complaint to OLMS must be in writing. You can fax your complaint to OLMS, but also hand deliver or mail the signed original. An complaint will be accepted. The complainant should subsequently mail all attachments to OLMS. Attach copies of your internal protest and union decisions, if you have them. If you don’t have your internal protest, describe your allegations in your complaint to OLMS. Include your address and phone number and the addresses and phone numbers of any witnesses. Include other evidence if possible.

37 CSRA (Federal Unions) Complaints
State the alleged violations Describe internal remedies taken Copy of the internal union protest Copy of the union’s decision on your protest Federal unions are governed by the Civil Service Reform Act. The CSRA incorporates most of the provisions of LMRDA Title IV. However, members of federal unions should include the following in their complaints to OLMS: A clear and concise statement of the facts constituting the alleged violations. A statement of the remedies that have been invoked under the constitution and bylaws of the union and the date such remedies were invoked. A copy of any ruling or decision the complainant received from the union on their protest.

38 OLMS Election Investigation
Upon receipt of a valid election complaint, OLMS initiates an investigation. The investigation will include interviews with the complainant, union officials, and other witnesses. OLMS will also examine election records and other appropriate records as needed. Upon receipt of a complaint, OLMS will open an investigation. That investigation will include interviews with the complainant, union officials and witnesses. OLMS will also examine election and other relevant records. OLMS must confirm: That the organization which held the election is a union covered by the LMRDA or CSRA. That the complainant is a union member in good standing. That the election was a regularly scheduled election of officers. That the complainant properly invoked internal protest procedures. That the allegations, if true, constitute LMRDA Title IV violations.

39 OLMS Election Investigation
OLMS must determine: If violations occurred, and If violations may have affected the election outcome. Violations of the election provisions of the Act that occurred in the conduct of an election are not grounds for setting aside the election unless they “may have affected the outcome”. OLMS will also seek to determine if the union took any steps to remedy those violations.

40 18 U.S.C. 1001 If you provide false information to OLMS during an investigation you could be charged with a felony violation.

41 Six Most Common Complaints
Use of union or employer funds, facilities, equipment, or supplies to support a candidate Non-uniform application of candidate eligibility requirements Failure to provide adequate safeguards to insure a fair election, including failure to safeguard ballots properly Denying eligible members the right to vote or permitting ineligible persons to vote Lack of secret ballot Failure to follow provisions of the union’s constitution and bylaws

42 Violations Affecting the Election
OLMS will seek an agreement with the union to voluntarily rerun the election under OLMS’ supervision. If OLMS finds violations not remedied that may have affected election outcome, OLMS will seek an agreement with the union to supervise a rerun.

43 If There Is No Agreement
LMRDA: Suit in federal district court within 60 days of date complaint filed CSRA: Complaint with the ALJ What if the union disagrees with OLMS’ findings that there were violations that may have affected outcome? For unions covered by the LMRDA, OLMS has 60 days from the date it receives a complaint to file suit in federal district court to overturn the election. In unions comprised strictly of federal employees (CSRA) the Secretary does not file suit in U.S. District Court to set aside the election. Section of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) which implements the provisions of the Standards of Conduct provides that enforcement proceedings are instituted through a complaint with the Administrative Law Judge, U.S. Department of Labor. The ALJ will issue a recommendation, and the Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of Labor will issue a final decision.

44 LMRDA Title IV Section 401 sets election standards.
Section 402 contains procedures for filing a complaint with OLMS. In summary: LMRDA Section 401 sets standards for holding officer elections. LMRDA Section 402 contains procedures for filing an election complaint with OLMS.

45 OLMS Election References
LMRDA Electing Union Officers Conducting Local Union Officer Elections Checklist for Conducting Local Union Officer Elections Electing Local Union Officers by Mail Union Officer Elections: A Complainant’s Guide OLMS has many helpful publications about officer elections. Many of them are on the Internet or they can be obtained from any OLMS district office.


47 OLMS Online
Announce the district office phone number(s). Or advise that people can go online to download publications from the OLMS web site.

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