Francis Rooney has consistently kept his focus on unions throughout the majority of 2018. And, having fresh off his reelection win this past week, Rooney’s fight continues as he presses the Labor Department to reform how it views worker centers.
In a letter directed to U.S. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, Rooney called for Acosta to recognize worker centers as labor organizations. This is something Rooney had asked for a year ago, and Rooney was told that the Department would investigate the matter.
Rooney’s office noted that “Currently, worker centers operate outside the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) to avoid transparency and accountability rules that apply to labor unions.”
He further explained his concerns on Friday, commenting that “It is imperative for the Department of Labor to protect union workers. Worker centers across the United States are currently operating as labor unions and should fall under the LMRDA rules. They conveniently avoid transparency and accountability rules that unions must follow; worker centers collect funds from unions to partake in prohibited activities such as secondary boycotts and in many cases even negotiate with employers on behalf of the workers. This disingenuous union tactic must be stopped, and worker centers must be classified as labor organizations to protect hard-working employees from abuse by corrupt unions.”
This year, Rooney has worked to introduce several measures relating to unions. In April, he introduced the “Accountability for Represented Workers Act,” which offers more transparency and aims to close the worker center loophole that critics argue organized labor uses to avoid reporting finances and keep current leadership in place. The bill sits in front of the U.S. House Education and the Workforce Committee since April with no movement.
In October, Rooney introduced the “Union Integrity Act,” arguing that it would protect whistleblowers and hone in on corruption.