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TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING CHAPTER 8 TO TITLE 41 SO AS TO ENACT THE "WORKER'S RIGHT TO KNOW ACT", TO PROVIDE MEMBERS OF LABOR ORGANIZATIONS EMPLOYED BY PUBLIC AGENCIES WITH INFORMATION CONCERNING MEMBERSHIP IN LABOR ORGANIZATIONS THROUGH COMPREHENSIVE DISCLOSURE OF LABOR ORGANIZATION FINANCES AND TO PROVIDE FOR THE PROTECTION OF A WORKER'S FREEDOM OF SPEECH, ASSEMBLY, AND OTHER RIGHTS.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Title 41 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
Section 41-8-10. This chapter may be cited as the 'South Carolina Worker's Right to Know Act'.
Section 41-8-20. As used in this chapter:
(1) 'Agency' means each governmental subdivision, each district, each public and quasi-public corporation, each public agency and public service corporation, and each town, city, and municipal corporation, whether incorporated or not and whether chartered or not, of this State.
(2) 'Any thing of value' includes any stock, bond, security, or other interest, legal or equitable, or any income or other benefit of monetary value, including reimbursed expenses.
(3) 'Court of jurisdiction' means the circuit court of the county in which the alleged violation of this chapter took place or where the labor organization maintains its principal office.
(4) 'Department' means the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.
(5) 'Employee' means an individual employed by an agency, except where the term is used in reference to an individual employed by a labor organization, and includes any individual whose work has ceased because of any unfair labor practice or because of exclusion or expulsion from a labor organization in any manner or for any reason inconsistent with the requirements of this chapter.
(6) 'Employer' means an employer or any group or association of employers that is an employer within the meaning of any law of this State or the United States, but does not include the United States or any corporation wholly owned by the government of the United States.
(7) 'Labor organization' means an organization in which employees participate, and which exists for the purpose, in whole or in part, of dealing with an agency concerning grievances or conditions of employment.
(8) 'Member' or 'member in good standing', when used in reference to a labor organization, includes a person who has fulfilled the requirements for membership in the organization, and who neither has voluntarily withdrawn from membership nor has been expelled or suspended from membership after appropriate proceedings consistent with lawful provisions of the labor organization's constitution or bylaws.
(9) 'Officer' means a constitutional officer of a labor organization, a person authorized to perform the functions of president, vice president, treasurer, or other executive functions of a labor organization, and a member of its executive board or similar governing body.
(10) 'Officer, agent, shop steward, or other representative', when used with respect to a labor organization, includes elected officials and key administrative personnel, whether elected or appointed, including, but not limited to business agents, heads of departments or major units, and organizers who exercise substantial independent authority, but does not include salaried nonsupervisory professional staff, stenographic, and service personnel.
(11) 'Person' means one or more individuals, labor organizations, or agencies.
(12) 'Secret ballot' means the expression by ballot, voting machine, or otherwise, but does not mean by proxy, of a choice with respect to any election or vote taken upon any matter, which is cast in such a manner that the person expressing his choice cannot be identified with the choice expressed.
(13) 'Trust in which a labor organization is interested' means a trust or other fund or organization:
(a) that was created or established by a labor organization, or one or more of the trustees or one or more members of the governing body that is selected or appointed by a labor organization; and
(b) a primary purpose of which is to provide benefits for the members of the labor organization or their beneficiaries.
(14) 'Trusteeship' means any receivership, trusteeship, or other method of supervision or control whereby a labor organization suspends the autonomy otherwise available to a subordinate body under its constitution or bylaws.
Section 41-8-30. (A) Each member of a labor organization has equal rights and privileges within the organization to nominate candidates, to vote in elections or referendums of the labor organization, to attend membership meetings, and to participate in the deliberations and voting upon matters properly considered at meetings, subject to reasonable rules and regulations contained in the organization's constitution and bylaws.
(B) Each member of a labor organization has the right to meet and assemble freely with other members; to express any views, arguments, or opinions; and to express at meetings of the labor organization his views upon any business properly considered at the meeting, subject to reasonable rules established by the organization. Nothing in this section may be construed to impair the right of a labor organization to adopt and enforce reasonable rules regarding the responsibility of each member toward the organization as an institution and to prohibit conduct that would interfere with the organization's performance of legal or contractual obligations.
(C) The rates of dues and initiation fees payable by members of a labor organization in effect on the effective date of this chapter may not be increased, and no general assessment must be levied upon its members, except:
(1) in the case of a local labor organization by majority vote of the members in good standing voting:
(a) at a general or special membership meeting conducted by secret ballot, after not less than thirty days written notice of the intention to vote upon an increase in dues or the imposition of a general assessment; or
(b) in a membership referendum conducted by secret ballot; or
(2) in the case of a labor organization other than a local labor organization by majority vote of the:
(a) delegates voting at a regular convention, or at a special convention held after not less than thirty days written notice to the principal office of each local or constituent labor organization;
(b) members in good standing of the labor organization voting in a membership referendum conducted by secret ballot; or
(c) members of the executive board or similar governing body of the labor organization, pursuant to express authority contained in the constitution and bylaws of the labor organization. An action on the part of the executive board or similar governing body is effective only until the next regular convention of the labor organization.
(D) A labor organization may not limit the right of any of its members to institute an action in a court, or a proceeding before any administrative agency, whether or not the labor organization or its officers are named as defendants or respondents in the action or proceeding. A member who wishes to institute an action in any legal or administrative proceeding may be required to exhaust reasonable hearing procedures within the organization before instituting legal or administrative proceedings against the organization or any officer of the organization, provided the hearing procedure lasts no longer than four consecutive months. An interested employer or employer association, directly or indirectly, may not finance, encourage, or participate in, except as a party, any legal action or administrative proceeding.
(E) A labor organization may not limit the right of a member of a labor organization to appear as a witness in any judicial, administrative, or legislative proceeding, or to petition the legislature or to communicate with a legislator.
(F) A member of a labor organization may not be fined, suspended, expelled, or otherwise disciplined except for nonpayment of dues by the organization, unless the member has been served with written specific charges, given a reasonable time to prepare his defense, and afforded a full and fair hearing.
(G) A provision of the constitution and bylaws of a labor organization that is inconsistent with the provisions of this section has no force or effect.
Section 41-8-40. A person alleging that his rights have been infringed by a violation of this chapter may bring a civil action for appropriate relief in a court of competent jurisdiction. Nothing contained in this chapter limits the rights and remedies of a member of a labor organization under a law or the constitution and bylaws of a labor organization.
Section 41-8-50. (A) In the case of a local labor organization, the secretary or corresponding principal officer shall forward a copy of each collective bargaining agreement made or received by the labor organization with an agency to an employee who requests a copy and whose rights as an employee are affected by the agreement.
(B) In the case of a labor organization other than a local labor organization, the secretary or corresponding principal officer shall forward a copy of any collective bargaining agreement made or received by the labor organization with an agency, to each constituent unit which has members directly affected by the agreement. A copy of any collective bargaining agreement must be maintained at the labor organization's principal office and must be available for inspection by a member or by an employee whose rights are affected by the agreement.
(C) Each labor organization shall inform its members of the provisions of this chapter.
Section 41-8-60. (A)(1) Each labor organization shall adopt a constitution and bylaws and shall file a copy with the department, together with an annual report, signed by its president and secretary or corresponding principal officers. The annual report must contain:
(a) the name of the labor organization, its mailing address, and any other address at which it maintains its principal office or at which it keeps the records referred to in this chapter;
(b) the name and title of each officer;
(c) the initiation fee or fees or other periodic payments required to remain a member of the reporting labor organization;
(d) the regular dues or fees or other periodic payments required to remain a member of the reporting labor organization; and
(e) detailed statements or references to specific provisions of documents filed pursuant to the provisions of this subsection that contain the information requested below, showing the provisions made and procedures followed with respect to each of the following:
(i) qualifications for, or restrictions on, membership;
(ii) levying of assessments;
(iii) participation in insurance or other benefit plans;
(iv) authorization for disbursement of funds of the labor organization;
(v) an audit of financial transactions of the labor organization performed by a nonaffiliated third party certified public accountant;
(vi) calling of regular and special meetings;
(vii) selection of officers and stewards and of any representatives to other bodies composed of labor organization representatives, with a specific statement of the manner in which each officer, steward, or other representative was elected, appointed, or otherwise selected;
(viii) discipline or removal of officers or agents for breaches of their trust;
(ix) imposition of fines, suspensions, and expulsions of members, including the grounds for the action and any provision made for notice, hearing, judgment on the evidence, and appeal procedures;
(x) authorization for bargaining demands;
(xi) ratification of contract terms;
(xii) authorization for strikes; and
(xiii) issuance of work permits.
(2) The initial annual report required by this subsection must be filed with the department within ninety days of a labor organization becoming subject to the provisions of this chapter. Any change in the information required by this subsection must be reported to the department at the time the reporting labor organization files with the department the annual financial report required by subsection (B).
(B)(1) Each labor organization shall file annually with the department a financial report signed by its president and treasurer or corresponding principal officers containing the following information prepared by a nonaffiliated third party certified public accountant in a manner necessary to accurately disclose its financial conditions and operations for the immediately preceding fiscal year:
(a) assets and liabilities at the beginning and end of the fiscal year;
(b) receipts of any kind and the sources of them;
(c) salary, allowances, and other direct or indirect disbursements, including reimbursed expenses, to each officer, member, or employee of the organization that received more than ten thousand dollars in the aggregate from the labor organization and any other affiliated labor organization during the fiscal year;
(d) direct and indirect loans made to any officer, member, or employee of the organization totaling more than two hundred fifty dollars during the fiscal year, together with a statement of the purpose, security, and terms of repayment;
(e) direct and indirect loans to any business enterprise, together with a statement of the purpose, and terms of repayment; and
(f) other disbursements, including a description of the reason for the disbursement, listed in categories prescribed by the department.
(2) The annual report required by this subsection must be filed with the department within ninety days after the labor organization's fiscal year ends.
(C) Each labor organization required to submit a report provided by this chapter shall make the information contained in the report available to all of its members.
(D) The officers of the organization are responsible for the accuracy of the report and shall examine any books, records, and accounts necessary to verify the report's accuracy.
Section 41-8-70. (A) Each officer and employee of a labor organization and each employee of a labor organization, other than an employee performing exclusively clerical or custodial services, shall file with the department a signed report listing and describing any of the following affecting the officer, employee, his spouse or minor children, during the preceding fiscal year:
(1) anything of value held in or derived from an entity whose activities are in whole or substantial part devoted to buying from, selling, or leasing to, or otherwise dealing with, an agency whose employees the organization represents or is actively seeking to represent or an entity whose activities are in whole or substantial part devoted to buying from, or selling or leasing directly or indirectly to, or otherwise dealing with the organization;
(2) any direct or indirect business transaction or arrangement between the person and an agency whose employees his organization represents or is actively seeking to represent, except work performed and payments and benefits received as a bona fide employee of the agency and purchases and sales of goods or services in the regular course of business at prices generally available to an employee of the agency; and
(3) anything of value received directly or indirectly from an employer or a person who acts as a labor relations consultant to an employer, except payments of the kinds referred to in 29 U.S.C. 186(c).
(B) The provisions of this section may not be construed to require an officer or employee to report his bona fide investments in securities traded on a securities exchange registered as a national securities exchange under the federal Securities Exchange Act of 1934, in shares in an investment company registered under the federal Investment Company Act, in securities of a public utility holding company registered under the federal Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935, or to report any income derived from any activities as provided by this subsection.
(C) Nothing contained in this section may be construed to require an officer or employee of a labor organization to file a report as provided by subsection (A) unless he, his spouse, or minor child holds or has held an interest, received income or any other benefit with monetary value or a loan, or has engaged in a transaction as provided by this section.
(D) The report required by this section must be filed with the department within ninety days after the labor organization's fiscal year ends.
Section 41-8-80. Nothing contained in this chapter may be construed to require an attorney who is a member in good standing of the bar of any state, to include in any report required to be filed pursuant to the provisions of this chapter any information that was lawfully communicated to the attorney by any of his clients in the course of a legitimate attorney-client relationship.
Section 41-8-90. (A) The contents of the reports and documents filed with the department pursuant to this chapter are subject to the provisions of Chapter 4 of Title 30. The department may publish any information and data that it obtains from reports prepared and filed pursuant to this chapter. The department may use the information and data for statistical research and surveys utilizing that information.
(B) A person is not required to furnish to the department any information included in a report filed with the United States Secretary of Labor pursuant to 29 U.S.C. 431-441 if the report is furnished to the department pursuant to 29 U.S.C. 435(c).
Section 41-8-100. Each person required to file a report provided by this chapter shall maintain records on the matters required to be reported which will provide, in sufficient detail, the necessary basic information and data from which the documents filed with the department may be verified, explained, or clarified, and checked for accuracy and completeness. The records must include vouchers, worksheets, receipts, and applicable resolutions. The records must be maintained for at least five years after the filing of the report.
Section 41-8-110. The department may promulgate regulations prescribing the form and publication of reports that must be filed pursuant to this chapter and any other regulations necessary to prevent the circumvention or evasion of any reporting requirements.
Section 41-8-120. It is unlawful for a person to:
(1) make a false statement or representation of a material fact, or to knowingly fail to disclose a material fact, in a document or report required pursuant to the provisions of this chapter;
(2) wilfully make a false entry in or conceal, withhold, or destroy a book, record, report, or statement required to be maintained pursuant to any provision of this chapter; or
(3) endorse or file reports containing information he knows to be false or misleading.
Section 41-8-130. (A) Each surety company that issues a bond as provided by the provisions of this chapter shall file annually with the department, with respect to each fiscal year during which a bond was in force, a report containing information required by the department. The report must be filed by the president and treasurer or corresponding principal officers of the surety company. The report must describe the surety company's bond experience with respect to this chapter, including information concerning premiums received, total claims paid, amounts recovered by way of subrogation, administrative, and legal expenses, and any other related data and information the department determines to be necessary and in the public interest.
(B) The department may modify or waive all or part of this requirement for any specific information that may not be practicably ascertained.
(C) The annual report required by this section must be filed with the department within ninety days after the surety company's fiscal year ends.
Section 41-8-140. (A) The officers, agents, shop stewards, and other representatives of a labor organization shall:
(1) hold the organization's money and property only for the benefit of the organization and its members;
(2) expend money or property in accordance with the organization's constitution and bylaws and any resolutions of the governing body;
(3) refrain from dealing with the organization as an adverse party or on behalf of an adverse party in any matter connected with the person's duties and from holding or acquiring any pecuniary or personal interest which conflicts with the interests of the organization; and
(4) account to the organization for any profit received in any capacity in connection with transactions conducted by him or under his direction on behalf of the organization.
(B) A general exculpatory provision contained in the constitution, bylaws, or resolutions of the organization purporting to relieve any officer, agent, shop steward, and other representative of liability for breach of the duties imposed by this section is void as against public policy.
(C) A member may bring suit to enforce the provisions of this section. A person bringing an action pursuant to this section may recover reasonable costs and attorney fees in the discretion of the court.
Section 41-8-150. (A) Each officer, agent, shop steward, or other representative or employee of a labor organization or of a trust in which a labor organization is interested, with discretion over the funds or other property of the organization must be bonded to provide protection against loss by reason of acts of fraud or dishonesty. This section does not apply to an organization with property and annual financial receipts of less than five thousand dollars.
(B) The bond must be fixed at the beginning of the organization's fiscal year and must be in an amount of not less than ten percent of the funds over which the person or his predecessors had discretion over during the prior fiscal year, but in no case must the bond exceed five hundred thousand dollars.
(C) The bond must be not less than one thousand dollars for the officer of a local labor organization without a prior fiscal year. The bond must be not less than ten thousand dollars for the officer of any other labor organization without a prior fiscal year.
(D) The bonds as provided by this section must be individual or schedule in form, and must have a corporate surety company as surety. The surety company providing the bonds as provided by this section must be a corporate surety that holds a valid and current certificate of special authority from the Chief Insurance Commissioner of South Carolina and the State Attorney General pursuant to Title 38. The department may waive the requirement that the organization place a bond through a surety company holding a valid and current special grant of authority if the department determines the organization has made other bonding arrangements providing the protection required by this section at a comparable cost or less.
(E) It is unlawful for a person not covered by a bond to receive, handle, disburse, or otherwise exercise custody or control over the funds or other property of a labor organization or of a trust in which a labor organization is interested.
Section 41-8-160. It is unlawful for any officer or employee to loan funds of the labor organization to any other officer or employee in excess of two thousand dollars.
Section 41-8-170. (A) A person who has been convicted of a felony or any violation of this chapter may not serve as the following for ten years after the date of conviction or release from confinement, whichever is later:
(1) a consultant or adviser to a labor organization;
(2) an officer, director, trustee, member of any executive board or similar governing body, business agent, manager, employee, or representative in any capacity of a labor organization;
(3) a labor relations consultant or adviser to any person, employer, or agency, or as an officer, director, agent, or representative of any group or association of employers dealing with a labor organization, or in a position having specific collective bargaining authority or direct responsibility in the area of labor management relations in any corporation or association;
(4) in a position that entitles its holder to a share of the proceeds of, or as officer or representative of, any entity whose activities are in whole or substantial part devoted to providing goods or services to a labor organization; or
(5) in any capacity, other than his capacity as a member of a labor organization, that involves decision-making authority concerning, or decision-making authority over, or custody of, or control of the monies, funds, assets, or property of a labor organization.
(B) A person who violates this section is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than ten thousand dollars or imprisoned for not more than five years, or both.
(C) Upon final reversal of a person's conviction or pardon, the person is no longer barred from assuming any position from which the person was previously barred.
Section 41-8-180. (A) The department may investigate alleged violations of this chapter and in connection with its investigation, subpoena books, papers, records, or other documents the department considers necessary to enable it to determine the facts relative the inquiry.
(B) For the purposes of this chapter, service of summons, subpoena, or other legal process of a court of the State upon an officer or agent of a labor organization in his capacity as officer or agent constitutes service upon the labor organization.
Section 41-8-190. Except as explicitly provided to the contrary nothing in this chapter:
(1) reduces or limits the responsibilities of a labor organization or any officer, agent, shop steward, or other representative of a labor organization, or of any trust in which a labor organization is interested; and
(2) limits any right or bars any remedy to which members of a labor organization are entitled pursuant to any other provision of law.
Section 41-8-200. It is unlawful for:
(1) any officer, agent, shop steward, or other representative of a labor organization, or an employee of a labor organization to fine, suspend, expel, or otherwise discipline any of its members for exercising any right to which the member is entitled as provided by the provisions of this chapter; or
(2) a person through the use of force or violence, or threat of the use of force or violence, to restrain, coerce, or intimidate, or attempt to restrain, coerce, or intimidate a member of a labor organization for the purpose of interfering with or preventing the exercise of any right to which the member is entitled as provided by the provisions of this chapter.
Section 41-8-210. (A) Unless otherwise provided, a person violating a provision of this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.
(B) A labor organization or agency, directly or indirectly, may not pay the fine of any officer or employee convicted of a violation of this chapter.
Section 41-8-220. The reporting provisions of this chapter do not apply to a labor organization required to file annual or semi-annual disclosure reports as provided by the federal Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act."
SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
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