Member Rights

Office of Labor-Management Standards

29 CFR Part 458

Standards of Conduct for Federal Sector Labor Organizations

Beginning October 2, 2006, labor organizations must inform current members about their rights under the standards of conduct provisions at least once every three years.

  • Labor organizations must inform new members who join after October 2, 2006, of their rights within 90 days of their becoming new members.
  • National and local labor organizations that have a web site must provide a link to the state­ment of Union Member Rights and Officer Responsibilities on the DOL’s web site or to the labor org­ani­za­tion’s own statement. The link must be established by July 3, 2006. The regulation does not require labor org­ani­za­tions to create web sites.

Union Member Rights and Officer Responsibilities under the Civil Service Reform Act

The standards of conduct provisions of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (CSRA), among other statutes, guarantee certain rights to Federal employees who exercise their statutory right to become a member of a union representing Federal employees. The provisions also impose certain responsibilities on officers of these unions to ensure union democracy, financial integrity, and transparency. The Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) is the Federal agency with primary authority to enforce many standards of conduct provisions. If you need additional information, please contact OLMS at 1-866-4-USA-DOL. If you suspect a violation of these rights or responsibilities, you should refer to your union’s constitution and bylaws for information on union procedures, timeliness, and remedies. Complaints may be filed with OLMS after exhaustion of reasonable internal union remedies. See 29 C.F.R. §§ 452.135, 458.54.

Union Member Rights

Bill of Rights – Union members have (1) equal rights to participate in union activities; (2) free­dom of speech and assembly; (3) voice in setting rates of dues, fees, and as­sess­ments; (4) protection of the right to sue, and (5) safeguards against improper discipline.

  • Collective Bargaining Agreements – Union members (and certain nonunion em­ployees) have the right to receive or inspect copies of collective bargaining agreements.
  • Constitutions, Bylaws, and Reports – Unions are required to file an initial information report (Form LM-1), copies of constitutions and bylaws, and an annual financial report (Form LM-2/3/4) with OLMS. Unions must make these documents available to members and permit members to examine the records necessary to verify the financial reports for just cause. The documents are public information and copies of reports are available from OLMS and at www.union-reports.dol.gov.
  • Officer Elections – Union members have the right to (1) nominate candidates for office; (2) run for office; (3) cast a secret ballot; and (4) protest the conduct of an election within the time limits set by the union’s constitution and/or bylaws.
  • Officer Removal – Local union members have the right to an adequate procedure for the removal of an elected officer guilty of serious misconduct.
  • Trusteeships – A union may not be placed in trusteeship by a parent body except for those reasons specified in the standards of conduct regulations.
  • Protection for Exercising CSRA Rights – A union or any of its officials may not fine, expel, or otherwise discipline a member for exercising any CSRA right.
  • Prohibition Against Violence – No one may use or threaten to use force or violence to interfere with a union member in the exercise of his or her CSRA rights.

Union Officer Responsibilities

  • Financial Safeguards – Union officers have a duty to manage the funds and pro­perty of the union solely for the benefit of the union and its members in accordance with the union’s constitution and bylaws. The union must provide accounting and financial controls necessary to assure fiscal integrity.
  • Prohibition of Conflicts of Interest