29 CFR § 451.3 - Requirements of section 3(i).
(a) Organizations which deal with employers.
(1) The term “labor organization” includes “any organization of any kind, any agency, or employee representation committee, group, association, or plan * * * in which employees participate and which exists for the purpose, in whole or in part, of dealing with employers concerning grievances, labor disputes, wages, rates of pay, hours, or other terms or conditions of employment, * * *.” The quoted language is deemed sufficiently broad to encompass any labor organization irrespective of size or formal attributes. While it is necessary for employees to participate therein, such participating employees need not necessarily be the employees of the employer with whom the organization deals. In determining who are “employees” for purposes of this provision, resort must be had to the broad definition of “employee” contained in section 3(f) of the Act. 5 It will be noted that the term includes employees whose work has ceased for certain specified reasons, including any current labor dispute.
5 Sec. 3(f) reads: “ ‘Employee’ means any individual employed by an employer, and includes any individual whose work has ceased as a consequence of, or in connection with, any current labor dispute or 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 Act.”
(2) To come within the quoted language in section 3(i) the organization must exist for the purpose, in whole or in part, of dealing with employers concerning grievances, etc. In determining whether a given organization exists wholly or partially for such purpose, consideration will be given not only to formal documents, such as its constitution or bylaws, but the actual functions and practices of the organization as well. Thus, employee committees which regularly meet with management to discuss problems of mutual interest and handle grievances are “labor organizations”, even though they have no formal organizational structure. 6
6National Labor Relations Board v. Cabot Carbon Co., 360 U.S. 203.
(3) Since the types of labor organizations described in subparagraph (2) of this paragraph are those which deal with employers, it is necessary to consider the definition of “employer” contained in section 3(e) of the Act in determining the scope of the language under consideration. 7 The term “employer” is broadly defined to include “any employer or any group or association of employers engaged in an industry affecting commerce” which is “an employer within the meaning of any law of the United States relating to the employment of any employees * * *.” Such laws would include, among others, the Railway Labor Act, as amended, the Fair Labor Standards Act, as amended, the Labor Management Relations Act, as amended, and the Internal Revenue Code. The fact that employers may be excluded from the application of any of the foregoing acts would not preclude their qualification as employers for purposes of this Act. For example, employers of agricultural labor who are excluded from the application of the Labor Management Relations Act, as amended, would appear to be employers within the meaning of this Act.
7 Sec. 3(e) reads: “ ‘Employer’ means any employer or any group or association of employers engaged in an industry affecting commerce, (1) which is, with respect to employees engaged in an industry affecting commerce, an employer within the meaning of any law of the United States relating to the employment of any employees or (2) which may deal with any labor organization concerning grievances, labor disputes, wages, rates of pay, hours of employment, or conditions of work, and includes any person acting directly or indirectly as an employer or as an agent of an employer in relation to an employee but does not include the United States or any corporation wholly owned by the Government of the United States or any State or political subdivision thereof.”
(4) In defining “employer,” section 3(e) expressly excludes the “United States or any corporation wholly owned by the Government of the United States or any State or political subdivision thereof.” The term “political subdivision” includes, among others, counties and municipal governments. A labor organization composed entirely of employees of the governmental entities excluded by section 3(e) would not be a labor organization for the purposes of the Act with the exception of a labor organization composed of employees of the United States Postal Service which is subject to the Act by virtue of the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970. (Organizations composed of Federal government employees that meet the definition of “labor organization” in the Civil Service Reform Act or the Foreign Service Act are subject to the standards of conduct requirements of those Acts, 5 U.S.C. 7120 and 22 U.S.C. 4117, respectively. In addition, labor organizations subject to the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 are subject to the standards of conduct provisions of the Civil Service Reform Act pursuant to 2 U.S.C. 1351(a)(1). The regulations implementing the standards of conduct requirements are contained in parts 457-459 of this title.) However, in the case of a national, international or intermediate labor organization composed both of government locals and non-government or mixed locals, the parent organization as well as its mixed and non-government locals would be “labor organizations” and subject to the Act. In such case, the locals which are composed entirely of government employees would not be subject to the Act, although elections in which they participate for national officers or delegates would be so subject. 8
8 See also, § 452.12 of this chapter which discusses the election provisions of the Act.
(b) Organizations which may or may not deal with employers. Regardless of whether it deals with employers concerning terms and conditions of employment and regardless of whether it is composed of employees, any conference, general committee, joint or system board, or joint council engaged in an industry affecting commerce and which is subordinate to a national or international labor organization is a “labor organization” for purposes of the Act. Included are the area conferences and the joint councils of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and similar units of other national and international labor organizations.