Celebrating the LMRDA at the Department of Labor

Posted by Olivia Grady on Friday, September 27th, 2019 at 5:32 pm - Permalink

Yesterday, Acting Secretary of Labor Patrick Pizzella hosted an event at the Department of Labor to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA). At the event, Secretary Pizzella and NLRB Chairman John Ring inducted Senator Robert P. Griffin and former NLRB Board Member Howard Jenkins Jr. into the Labor Department’s Hall of Honor.

These two men were recognized for their contributions in supporting American workers.

Robert Griffin, for example, introduced the landmark Landrum-Griffin Act, also known as the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA). The Act reduces corruption within unions by requiring annual public financial disclosures and regular secret ballot elections. 

Interestingly, Griffin was the son of an auto factory foreman in Detroit, Michigan. He was born on November 6, 1923, and he later worked on auto assembly lines while in school before serving in the U.S. Army during World War II. In 1947, he graduated from Central Michigan University and later earned his law degree at the University of Michigan in 1950. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1956.

Griffin's concern about union corruption began after the hearings in the Senate’s “McClellan Committee on Improper Activities in Labor and Management,” and he worked across the aisle with Representative Phil Landrum (GA) to pass the LMRDA.

Later, in 1966, Griffin was appointed to a vacant U.S. Senate seat, where he sat on the Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare. He became Senate Minority Whip in 1969 and retained that position after winning reelection until 1977. He then returned to practice law in Michigan until he was elected to the Michigan Supreme Court in 1986, where he served until his retirement in 1994. He passed away in 2015.

Like Griffin, Howard Jenkins, Jr. has also supported American workers. Jenkins was born in Denver, Colorado in 1915, and he received his undergraduate degree and law degree from the University of Denver. In 1943, he was appointed Regional Attorney for the National War Labor Board after working for the Denver War Production Board during World War II. Later, he became the Chief Regional Enforcement Officer at the National Wage Stabilization Board in 1945. Jenkins was next a member of the faculty of Howard University’s Law School from 1946 to 1956, where he focused on labor law and administrative law.

In 1956, Jenkins became Special Assistant in the Office of the Solicitor at the Department of Labor, where he helped draft the LMRDA. He was then chosen as Deputy Commissioner of the Office of Regulation at the Bureau of Labor Management Reports, and in 1962, he was promoted to Assistant Commissioner of the Office of Regulation at the Bureau of Labor Management Reports.

President John F. Kennedy then appointed him to the National Labor Relations Board in 1963. He was the first African American to serve as a Board Member. He was later reappointed to the Board by Presidents Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter. As an NLRB Board Member, he helped to establish the NLRB’s policy of refusing to help labor unions that practiced racial discrimination. He passed away in 2003.

The Center for Worker Freedom was honored to attend this wonderful event. To watch this event, please click here.