9-139.000 - Miscellaneous Labor Statutes

9-139.020 Investigatory and Supervisory Jurisdiction for Miscellaneous Labor Statutes
9-139.100 The Railway Labor Act (RLA)——45 U.S.C. § 151, et seq.
9-139.103 Railway Labor Act—Authorization for Criminal Prosecution
9-139.200 Fair Labor Standards Act (29 U.S.C. § 216(a))
9-139.300 Labor Organization Under Trusteeship (29 U.S.C. § 461 and § 463)
9-139.400 Bonding of Officers and Employees of Labor Organizations (29 U.S.C. § 502)
9-139.500 Loans to Union Officers and Payment of Fines (29 U.S.C. § 503)
9-139.600 Transportation of Strikebreakers (29 U.S.C. § 1231)
9-139.700 Extortionate Picketing (29 U.S.C. § 522)
9-139.800 Interference with National Labor Relations Board Agent (29 U.S.C. § 162)


9-139.020 - Investigatory and Supervisory Jurisdiction for Miscellaneous Labor Statutes

The following agencies have investigative jurisdiction over the following miscellaneous labor statutes:

STATUTE

INVESTIGATIVE AGENCY(IES)

45 U.S.C. § 152

Federal Bureau of
Investigation; Inspector
General's Office of
Investigations, Division of
Labor Racketeering (by
authority conferred on its
investigators as Special
Deputy United States
Marshals).

29 U.S.C. § 216(a)

Wage and Hour Division,
U.S. Department of Labor

29 U.S.C. § 162

Federal Bureau of
Investigation

18 U.S.C. § 844

Federal Bureau of
Investigation; Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco &
Firearms, U.S. Department
of the Treasury; Postal
Inspection Service.

49 U.S.C. § 80501

Federal Bureau of
Investigation

29 U.S.C. §§ 461 and 463

Office of Labor Management
Standards, United States
Department of Labor

29 U.S.C. § 502

Office of Labor Management
Standards, United States
Department of Labor

29 U.S.C. § 503

Office of Labor Management
Standards, United States
Department of Labor (Union
Loans); Office of Labor
Management Standards,
United States Department of
Labor (Union Payment of
Fines); Federal Bureau of
Investigation (Employer
Payment of Fines).

29 U.S.C. § 522

Federal Bureau of Investigation;

Office of Labor Management Standards and the Inspector General’s Office of Investigations-Labor Racketeering and Fraud, U.S Department of Labor

 

18 U.S.C. § 1231

Federal Bureau of
Investigation

18 U.S.C. § 33

Federal Bureau of
Investigation

  • 45 U.S.C. § 152, Tenth Railway Labor Act. See JM 9-139.103.
     
  • 29 U.S.C. § 216(a) Fair Labor Standards Act.
     
  • 29 U.S.C. § 162 Interference with National Labor Relations Board Agent.
     
  • 29 U.S.C. § 461 and Sec. 463 Labor Organization Under Trusteeship.
     
  • 29 U.S.C. § 502 Bonding of Officers and Employees of Labor Organizations.
     
  • 29 U.S.C. § 503 Loans to Union Officers and Payment of Fines by Unions and Employers.
     
  • 29 U.S.C. § 522 Extortionate Picketing.
     
  • 18 U.S.C. § 1231 Transportation of Strikebreakers.

 

The Labor-Management Unit of the Organized Crime and Gang Section has supervisory jurisdiction concerning criminal enforcement of the following statutes in labor disputes. Violations of 18 U.S.C. § 33 and 49 U.S.C. § 80501 not involving labor disputes are supervised by the Counterterrorism Section of the National Security Division.

  • 18 U.S.C. § 33 Destruction of Motor Vehicles.

  • 18 U.S.C. § 844(i) Use of Arson or Explosives Affecting Property Used in Interstate Commerce.

  • 49 U.S.C. § 80501 Damage to Property Being Transported In Interstate Commerce [formerly 15 Sec. 1281 and Sec. 1282 transferred effective July 5, 1994].

 

[updated January 2020]


9-139.100 - The Railway Labor Act (RLA)—45 U.S.C. § 151, et seq.

The Railway Labor Act (RLA) provides for criminal prosecution with respect to the willful failure or refusal of a railway or airline carrier, or its officers or agents, to comply with the terms of the third, fourth, fifth, seventh, and eighth paragraphs of 45 U.S.C. § 152, Tenth, which deal with labor-management relations in the railway and airline industries.

[updated January 2020]


9-139.103 - Railway Labor Act— Authorization for Criminal Prosecution

Consultation with the Labor-Management Unit of the Organized Crime and Gang Section is required prior to initiating criminal prosecution under the Railway Labor Act. As a matter of policy, prosecutions as well as requests for investigation concerning violations of 45 U.S.C. § 152, Tenth, should be declined unless they contain allegations of egregious carrier interference with employee rights tantamount to actual or threatened violence, or involve prohibited payments to employee representatives. This policy is instituted primarily as a result of United States v. Winston, 558 F.2d 105 (2d Cir. 1977), wherein the Second Circuit reversed a conviction under 45 U.S.C. § 152, Tenth.

In Winston, defendants, owners and operators of a small airline charter service, were charged with conspiracy to violate the Railway Labor Act by conduct which would have been at most an unfair labor practice in an industry other than the railway or airline industries under Federal law. Accordingly, under this prosecution policy, the mere commission of an unfair labor practice is insufficient to justify criminal prosecution under the Railway Labor Act, absent the presence of one or more of the aggravating factors described above.

This policy change has the effect of treating the parties to airline and railway labor disputes for purposes of criminal prosecution in the same manner as parties in labor disputes in other federally regulated industries.

In declining prosecution with respect to complaints alleging violations of 45 U.S.C. § 152, Tenth, it may be appropriate to advise the complainant that redress may be available to him through private civil litigation.

This policy does not apply to civil litigation under 45 U.S.C. § 152, Tenth as supervised by the Civil Division. If it is determined that a particular matter merits civil enforcement under 45 U.S.C. § 152, Tenth, the Civil Division should be contacted before any action is taken.

[updated January 2020] [cited in JM 9-130.300; JM 9-132.010; JM 9-139.020]


9-139.200 - Fair Labor Standards Act (29 U.S.C. § 216(a))

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides a national minimum hourly wage (29 U.S.C. § 206), mandatory overtime compensation (29 U.S.C. § 207), and restrictions on the employment of minors (29 U.S.C. § 212). The FLSA also requires employers to maintain accurate employee records in accordance with the Act's provisions (29 U.S.C. § 211). To ensure employer compliance with these requirements, both civil and criminal sanctions were provided. Section 215 of Title 29, United States Code, lists the prohibited acts under the FLSA. Section 216(a) of Title 29, United States Code, provides a criminal misdemeanor penalty for willful violations of 29 U.S.C. § 215. Imprisonment up to six (6) months for each offense may be imposed only upon a second or subsequent conviction for an offense under the Act.

Section 216(b) of Title 29 provides for an employer's civil liability for violations of 29 U.S.C. § 215. Broad injunctive relief to curtail any practice which would constitute a violation of section 215 or to obtain remedial action is available under Section 217 of Title 29, United States Code. Where an employer consistently violates a decree or consent judgment, or where the FLSA violations are sufficiently aggravated, criminal sanctions can be pursued under 18 U.S.C. § 401 or 29 U.S.C. § 216. Following conviction under 29 U.S.C. § 216(a) for a monetary violation, it is suggested that restitution be pursued as a part of the criminal sentence.
 

[updated January 2020]


9-139.300 - Labor Organization Under Trusteeship (29 U.S.C. § 461 and § 463)

These LMRDA statutes apply to situations in which a subordinate body of a labor organization is placed in trusteeship under the supervision of the superior organization. Section 463 provides that delegates from the organization under trusteeship (e.g., a local union) to any convention or election (e.g., by an international union) must be democratically elected by all eligible members by secret ballot. Any other method of delegate selection renders their votes a nullity and subject to prosecution under section 463(a)(1). Section 463(a)(2) provides that funds of the organization under trusteeship may not be transferred to the international or other level of the labor organization. Exceptions are that normal per capita tax and assessments payable by organizations not under trusteeship may continue to be collected by superior levels of the labor organization, and the assets of the organization under trusteeship may be distributed in accordance with that organization's constitution and bylaws upon dissolution. A willful violation of 29 U.S.C. §  463(a) may result in imprisonment for one year and/or a fine under section 463(b).

A willful failure by a labor organization or its principal officers to file reports in regard to the trusteeship of a subordinate organization with the Department of Labor, the willful failure to keep records supporting such reports, the knowing falsification of such reports, or the willful falsification or destruction of the supporting records, may also result in imprisonment for one year and/or a fine.  29 U.S.C. §§ 461(c) and 461(d).
 

[updated January 2020]


9-139.400 - Bonding of Officers and Employees of Labor Organizations (29 U.S.C. § 502)

LMRDA Section 502 (29 U.S.C. § 502) requires that all officers, employees and certain representatives who handle funds or property of a labor organization (except those whose property and annual receipts do not exceed $5,000), or of a trust in which a labor organization is interested, be bonded to provide protection against loss by reason of acts of fraud or dishonesty on their part directly or through connivance with others. Any person who is not bonded shall not be permitted to exercise control over a union's assets. While no designation is made as to who is responsible for permitting an unbonded individual to handle assets, the fiduciary standards imposed in 29 U.S.C. § 501(a) indicate that officers, agents and ship stewards and others, regardless of title, in a position of authority may be liable. Willful violations are punishable by up to one year and a fine.

[updated January 2020]


9-139.500 - Loans to Union Officers and Payment of Fines (29 U.S.C. § 503)

LMRDA Section 503(a) (29 U.S.C. § 503(a)) prohibits labor organizations regulated by the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) from making loans to any one officer or employee which result in a total indebtedness in excess of $2,000. LMRDA Section 503(b) (29 U.S.C. § 503(b)) prohibits a labor organization or an employer regulated by the LMRDA from paying, directly or indirectly, a criminal fine imposed on an officer or employee convicted of a willful violation of the LMRDA. A willful violation of Section 503(a) or 503(b) can result in imprisonment of one year and/or a fine. 29 U.S.C. § 503(c).

[updated January 2020]


9-139.600 - Transportation of Strikebreakers (29 U.S.C. § 1231)

This provision prohibits any person from:

Willfully transporting any person in interstate or foreign commerce who is employed or will be employed to obstruct or interfere by force or threats with peaceful labor picketing by employees, or employees' exercise of organizational or collective bargaining rights; or

Traveling or knowingly being transported in interstate or foreign commerce for the purpose of obstructing or interfering by force or threats with any of the above-enumerated employee activities.

The legislative history makes clear that 18 U.S.C. § 1231 was enacted to deal with professional strikebreakers who were hired by employers to physically interfere with pickets and other lawful labor activity by employees. Common carriers are specifically exempted from the application of this statute.

The penalties for violating this statute are a fine and/or imprisonment for not more than two years. For information and pleadings concerning this statute, the Labor-Management Unit, Organized Crime and Gang Section may be consulted.
 

[updated January 2020]


9-139.700 - Extortionate Picketing (29 U.S.C. § 522)

LMRDA Section 602 (29 U.S.C. § 522) prohibits any person from unlawfully and willfully carrying on, or agreeing to carry on, picketing on or about the premises of an employer for the purpose of the personal profit or enrichment of any individual by taking or obtaining any money or other thing of value from such employer against his will or with his consent unless such profit or enrichment comes within the statutory exception for a "bona fide increase in wages or other employee benefits."

The legislative history of this statute explained that it would ". . . make it a criminal offense for a labor organization to conduct 'shakedown' picketing, i.e., picketing with no legitimate purpose but which is to force an employer to 'buy off' the union official involved. The subsection bans picketing to exact from the employer a payment for the enrichment of an individual as distinguished from bona fide picketing, the purpose of which is improvement in wages and working conditions of employees." S. Rep. No. 187, 86th Cong., 1st Sess. (1959) 43, reprinted at 1959 U.S. Code & Admin. News 2360. Accordingly, the statute reaches conduct also punished by the Hobbs Act (18 U.S.C. § 1951) as extortion by the wrongful use of actual or threatened fear of economic harm consisting of picketing.

Both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Labor have investigative jurisdiction in regard to this statute pursuant to a Memorandum of Understanding dated January 18, 2005, between the Secretary of Labor and the Attorney General.
 

[updated January 2020]


9-139.800 - Interference with National Labor Relations Board Agent (29 U.S.C. § 162)

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is the agency of the United States entrusted with primary federal oversight of labor-management disputes in the private sector of the economy outside the railway and airline industries. See 29 U.S.C. § 141, et seq. Under 29 U.S.C. § 162, it is a misdemeanor to willfully resist, prevent, impede or interfere with any member of the NLRB or any of its agents or agencies in the performance of their statutory duties. Investigators and hearing officers of the NLRB are also covered by the general statutes pertaining to assaults on Federal officers. See 18 U.S.C. §§ 111, 1111 to 1114 and 28 C.F.R. 64.2(t) (2018).

[updated January 2020]

 

Updated January 29, 2020