In August of 2008, the president of the largest SEIU local in the country, former-Los Angeles local member Tyrone Freeman, resigned after the Los Angeles Times revealed that Freeman fleeced his fellow union members — who make about $9 an hour caring for the infirm and disabled — of over $1 million in 2006 and 2007 alone. When Freeman was first faced with the charges, he sent out “lieutenants” to force other union members to sign loyalty oaths supporting his continued presidency. Now President Barack Obama has made it easier for future Freemans to get away with their crime.
What did union officials do to protect the union dues of its members? Nothing. According to the Los Angeles Times, SEIU national president Andy Stern had been repeatedly made aware of Freeman’s nefarious activities since 2001 but declined to do anything about them. His spokeswoman told the LAT: “Until we read these allegations in the L.A. Times, nobody ever brought before us serious credible evidence of wrongdoing.”
If it had not been for the Los Angeles Times, this story never would have broke and Freeman would still be stealing from hospital workers. How did the LAT break this story? By examining LM2 reporting forms that, thanks to Bush administration regulations, increased union transparency. Now the Obama administration has moved to gut those transparency rules. The Washington Times reports:
The Labor Department also is rescinding another key labor financial disclosure regulation. The expansion of the so-called LM-2 rule, approved during the last days of the Bush administration, requires unions to report more information about finances and labor leaders’ compensation on annual reports.
Under what pretense is the Obama administration weakening LM2 requirements? According to the Times: “unions say the Bush administration reporting rules were unfair and burdensome.” Considering how unburdend Ansy Stern was by Freeman’s reported theft, we believe uninons deserve some heaby burdens in transparency reporting.