DOL plans to investigate worker centers

  • April 30, 2018

DOL plans to investigate worker centers   

For those who believe worker centers are nothing but fronts for organized labor, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel. Bloomberg and POLITICO are both reporting that the Department of Labor is investigating whether some worker centers should be defined as labor organizations under current labor law.

The Labor Department is investigating several worker organizing centers to determine if they are labor organizations, according to a letter to GOP lawmakers obtained by Bloomberg Law.

But rather than create a new legal test for classifying worker groups as the House members requested, the DOL said its Office of Labor-Management Standards will review the facts on a case-by-case basis.

The Labor Department is looking at whether certain worker centers should be regulated as labor organizations, according to a March letter sent to Reps. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) and Tim Walberg (R-Mich.).

In the letter, first reported by Bloomberg Law, the agency told GOP lawmakers it could not issue a blanket rule on worker centers due to their variance in structure and activities. DOL said it could not reveal which worker centers are under investigation but said it would look into them on a case-by-case basis if there was “a complaint or some other credible indication.”

“The Department takes seriously allegations that organizations covered by the [Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act] are not filing the required reports,” the letter reads.

Last week, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce singled out several workers centers it believed would meet the definition of a labor organization, including the Retail Action Project and the Restaurant Opportunities Center. After Republican lawmakers blasted worker centers during a House hearing on Thursday, Rep. Francis Rooney (R-Fla.) introduced legislation that would force worker centers to follow the same reporting requirements as unions.