OLMS guidance issued on March 25, 2020
COVID-19 (also known as novel coronavirus), as well as Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, Florence, Michael, Barry and Dorian, Typhoon Yutu, the California wildfires, the Alaska earthquake, and the Nebraska flooding, the Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) issues this advisory regarding the labor union officer election requirements under Title IV and the reporting requirements of Title II of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (LMRDA). OLMS recognizes that due to the disruption caused by COVID-19, as well as property damage inflicted by the storms and evacuations from the affected areas, it may be difficult or impossible for some unions to conduct timely union officer elections. Similar difficulties may confront unions, union officers and employees, surety companies, labor relations consultants and employers faced with public disclosure filing requirements. OLMS issues this advisory for those unions, union officers and employees, surety companies, employers, or labor relations consultants whose principal office is located in the affected areas or whose reportable activities occurred in those areas.
Elections: Affected labor unions must make a good faith effort to conduct elections as required under the LMRDA. The failure to hold an election is an ongoing violation of the LMRDA. OLMS has jurisdiction to file a civil enforcement action concerning a failure to hold a timely election after receipt of a complaint from a union member who has first sought a remedy from his or her union. If OLMS, however, receives a complaint regarding a union’s failure to hold an election, and that failure was attributable to COVID-19, natural disasters, or their aftermath, OLMS will promptly seek a voluntary compliance agreement with the union. The agreement would require the union to hold the election when practicable on a date certain. With such an agreement, OLMS will not seek a civil enforcement action based on the complaint, provided the election is held in conformance with the agreement.
Public Disclosure Reports: Labor unions, labor union officers and employees, surety companies, labor relations consultants, and employers affected by COVID-19 or natural disasters must make a good faith effort to file required public disclosure reports. The failure to file a timely and complete report is an ongoing violation of the LMRDA. OLMS has jurisdiction to file a civil enforcement action concerning a failure to meet reporting requirements. OLMS will not, however, pursue a civil enforcement action with regard to a delinquent or deficient report when these reporting violations are attributable to COVID-19 and the reporting deadline was prior to June 30, 2020. Any such reports must be filed by June 30, 2020, absent further notice from OLMS. For delinquent or deficient reports attributable to natural disasters, or their aftermath, unions, union officers and employees, surety companies, employers, and labor relations consultants wishing to take advantage of this enforcement policy should contact OLMS before the report is due, describe the circumstances necessitating additional time, and provide a date certain by which the report can reasonably be submitted. Under these circumstances, OLMS will not lodge a civil enforcement action to obtain the delinquent or deficient report.
This advisory covers unions, employers, or labor relations consultants affected by COVID-19 or whose principal office is located in any area that has been identified as a Designated Area by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to receive individual or public assistance (FEMA categories A and B). To determine whether your county is in a designated area, you may review your state site or FEMA’s Disaster Declarations page.