Laws Protecting Union Members and Their Pension and Welfare Benefits Should Be Better Enforced

Gao ID: HRD-78-154 September 28, 1978

The Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) imposes federal standards and reporting and disclosure requirements to help eliminate or prevent improper and corrupt practices by labor unions and their officers and representatives. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) regulates the private pension and welfare plan systems for providing working Americans with retirement income and welfare benefits.

Both LMRDA and ERISA clearly delineate the respective areas of investigative responsibility and jurisdiction for the Departments of Labor and Justice, and coordination between the Departments is generally adequate. However, the Labor Management Services Administration (LMSA) has limited its enforcement of LMRDA and ERISA. Most of its enforcement effort under LMRDA is directed toward investigating election complaints and supervising election reruns. For ERISA, LMSA directed most of its efforts to activities other than enforcement and compliance of either the civil or criminal provisions of the act. LMSA national office computerized report processing and desk audit systems are principally directed to achieving voluntary compliance with reporting and disclosure provisions of both laws and not to verifying the accuracy of the reported data. According to officials, insufficient investigative staff is a primary cause of the lack of enforcement of the two laws and of the limited field audit activity.


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