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This entry was published on 2014-09-22
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Findings and policy
§ 720. Findings and policy. The rights of employees to organize and to
bargain collectively through labor organizations of their own choosing
have been affirmatively protected by the constitution and statutes of
this state and by parallel federal laws. Encouraged by these laws, a
substantial proportion of the employees in this state have become
members of, and contribute financially to, labor organizations for the
purpose of bargaining collectively with their employers concerning wages
and other conditions of employment. To the officers and agents of their
labor organizations, these employees have entrusted their funds and the
power to act in their behalf in achieving the purposes of their labor

Experience has shown instances where officers and agents of some labor
organizations have abused their positions of fiduciary responsibility.

Experience has also shown instances in which some employers, employer
organizations and labor relations consultants have participated in or
induced such abuses of fiduciary responsibility by officers and agents
of such labor organizations.

Responsible leaders of the labor movement have recognized that union
officers and agents have a fiduciary duty to serve the members of the
union honestly and faithfully, and these leaders have taken courageous
action against those who have violated their trust. Experience, however,
has shown that labor's efforts to correct abuses from within need to be
aided and supplemented by legislation.

Such abuses have had a harmful effect on the general welfare, health
and safety of employees and the public. Accordingly, it is hereby
declared to be the public policy of the state of New York that officers
and agents of a labor organization shall be held to a fiduciary
obligation in handling the labor organization's assets; that such
officers and agents shall not acquire financial interests which
interfere or tend to interfere with the faithful performance of their
responsibility to the labor organization; and that such officers and
agents shall account fully to the members of such labor organization for
all assets and financial transactions. It is hereby further declared to
be the public policy of the state of New York that employers, employer
organizations, labor relations consultants and other persons shall not
participate in or induce violations of such fiduciary obligation by
officers and agents of labor organizations.