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OLMS Union Elections Advisor

The Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) Union Elections Advisor helps union members and candidates in union office elections understand their rights. In addition, it helps union officers and others involved in conducting union officer elections understand their responsibilities as prescribed by the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, as amended (LMRDA). The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) administers and enforces most provisions of the LMRDA.

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 website 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.

The OLMS Union Elections Advisor is one of a series of elaws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) Advisors developed by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to help employers and employees understand their rights and responsibilities under Federal employment laws. To view the entire list of elaws Advisors please visit the elaws website. To learn more about DOL's efforts to ensure basic standards of democracy and fiscal responsibility in labor organizations representing employees in private industry, visit the Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) website.