Douglas C. Holbrook, Secretary Treasurer, APWU, Spring 1989


Section 206 of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) outlines general record-keeping requirements for unions.

As a general rule, all types of records used in the normal course of doing union business must be maintained by unions for five (5) years. This includes such financial records as receipt and disbursement journals, cancelled checks and stubs, bank statements, dues collection receipts, per capita reports, vendor invoices, and payroll records. Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) has found that, for the most part, unions do maintain these types of basic financial records but often fail to keep other records which help explain or clarify financial transactions. Such records include:

  • payment receipts for all union expenditures
  • credit card slips and itemized receipts for each credit card charge
  • vouchers for payment to vendors, officers, stewards and members
  • the union's copy of bank deposit slips
  • audit reports
  • journals
  • workpapers and other internal worksheets used to prepare financial statements, and
  • minutes of all membership and executive board meetings

We recognize the Department of Labor's five (5) year requirement for records. However, I would like to share with you the advice of our CPA and Controller. Good practice dictates that a local, state or national union keep their financial records permanently. If union officers have any questions, we suggest that the unionn records in question be retained or that officers seek advice from the APWU Secretary-Treasurer's office.


Source: Office of the Federal Register, Manufacturer's Association of Delaware Valley

Have you ever wondered how long your business should store records from past years? The following timetable is recommended.

Accident reports and claims (settled) 7 years
Accounts payable ledgers 7 years
Accounts receivable ledgers 7 years
Audit report of accountants Permanent
Bank reconciliations 1 year
Capital stock and bond records Permanent
Cash books Permanent
Chart of Accounts Permanent
Check (cancelled, routine) 7 years
Check (cancelled, important) Permanent
Contracts and leases (expired) 7 years
Contracts and leases in effect Permanent
Correspondence (general) 3 years
Correspondence (legal matters) Permanent
Deeds, mortgages, bill of sale Permanent
Depreciation schedules Permanent
Duplicate deposit slips 1 year
Employee personnel records (terminated) 3 years
Employment applications 3 years
Expense analyses and distribution schedules 7 years
Financial statements Permanent
General and private ledgers Permanent
Insurance policies (expired) 3 years
Insurance records, claims, policies Permanent
Internal audit reports 3 years
Inventories 7 years
Invoices to customers 7 years
Invoices from vendors 7 years
Journals Permanent
Minute books of directors/holders, including by-laws Permanent
Notes receivable ledgers 7 years
Option records (expired) 7 years
Payroll records summaries 7 years
Petty cash vouchers 3 years
Physical inventory tags 3 years
Plant cost ledgers 7 years
Property appraisals Permanent
Property records Permanent
Purchase orders 1 year
Purchase orders (purchasing dept copy) 7 years
Receiving sheets 1 year
Requisitions 1 year
Sales records 7 years
Savings bond records 3 years
Scrap and salvage records 7 years
Stenographer's notebooks 1 year
Stock and Bond certificates (cancelled) 7 years
Stockroom withdrawal forms 1 year
Subsidiary ledgers 7 years
Tax returns and worksheets Permanent
Time books 7 years
Trade mark registrations Permanent
Voucher register/schedules 7 years
Voucher for payments to vendors and employees 7 years