Skip to Main Content
Compliance Assistance Resources

elaws - employment laws assistance for workers and small businesses

- OLMS Union Elections Advisor


The OLMS Union Elections Advisor is intended to describe certain rights of union members and candidates in union officer elections, and the responsibilities of union officers and others involved in conducting union officer elections, as prescribed by the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, as amended (LMRDA). The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) administers and enforces most provisions of the LMRDA.

The Department of Labor (DOL) developed the elaws Advisors to help employees and employers understand their rights and responsibilities under numerous Federal employment laws. Each Advisor includes links to more detailed information that may be useful to the user, such as links to regulatory text, publications and organizations.

The LMRDA applies to most labor organizations (i.e., unions) that exclusively represent, or seek to represent, employees in the private sector and the Federal sector (via the provisions of the Civil Service Reform Act (CSRA)), as well as U.S. Postal Service employees (Postal Reorganization Act of 1970). The law covers a wide range of union officer and member rights and responsibilities, including:

  • Bill of Rights for union members;
  • Reporting requirements for unions, union officers and employees, employers, and labor relations consultants;
  • Trusteeship requirements;
  • Union officer election standards; and
  • Fiduciary responsibilities for union officers.

Other Federal laws make unions representing Federal government employees and U.S. Postal Service employees subject to the election provisions of the LMRDA.

Title IV of the LMRDA requires periodic election of union officers, and prescribes minimum standards to ensure that such elections will be fairly conducted. Specific provisions are included to assure the right of union members to participate in selecting their officers without fear of interference or reprisal, and to protect the right to nominate candidates, run for office, and vote in officer elections. The law also sets forth the rights of candidates, provides for secret ballot elections, and other safeguards to ensure a fair election.

For information about other LMRDA requirements or other OLMS matters, visit the OLMS Web site or contact the nearest OLMS District Office.

Note: The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is responsible for administering another Federal law, the Labor Management Relations Act, which covers representation elections in the private sector.