DO YOU KNOW WHAT 29 U.S.C. 501(C) IS? HINT: IT CAN SEND UNION LEADERS TO JAIL
If union officials or staff take or receive any compensation or other benefit not properly “authorized” under the law, union constitution or bylaws, they might be guilty of embezzlement under this section of the law that is specifically applicable to union leaders. They have been criminally prosecuted for unauthorized salary increases, bonuses, gifts, benefits, and even allowing a former officer or staff member to take union property into retirement. Moreover, even if the compensation is authorized by the executive board or membership, it must also be for the benefit of the union. Any suggestion that the compensation was given solely or primarily for the benefit of the person authorizing the compensation could be trouble.
Take a look at the US Dept. of Labor web site listing all the cases it brought against union officials in 2013. Several of the major federal sector unions had leaders prosecuted. If you want to see a more detailed description of how one of these cases play out look at U.S. v Hammond.
We are not trying to scare union leaders, but is it important that we be very careful when spending union funds, especially on another officer, staff member or even retiree.
As we have said often, FEDSMILL postings should not be read a legal advice. We are not any reader’s attorney. If you have any reasonable hint or concern about how union funds are being spent, check with the union’s attorney.