The Federal Register today published a notice of proposed rulemaking wherein the Department of Labor is requesting rescission of what is known as 'the persuader rule' which would require companies to report any actions, conduct or communications they have pursued to "affect an employee's decisions regarding his or her representation or collective bargaining rights."
The 'persuader rule' was signed in March 2016 by the Obama administration. Under the old Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure act (LMRDA) of 1959 employers only were required to report their contacts with outside persuader groups during union organizing events if those consultants contacted employees directly. An example would be if the company hired a law firm, consultant or trade association during a union organizing event and someone from those types of firms contacted employees directly. In other words, if a company chose to work with and/or pay a consultant to write marketing copy in an effort to discourage (persuader) workers from unionizing, the company would only have to report their relationship with the writer if the writer contacted the worker directly.
The Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) requires employers and consultants to report detailed information, including fee arrangements, about some activities designed to persuade employees to reject unions or to refrain from union organizing. This includes disclosing information about third-party labor relations experts - or 'persuaders' - the company may have hired to help them dissuade workers from joining a union.
The idea behind the rule signed in 2016 was to ensure workers are aware their employer is seeking advice as to how to prevent workers from unionizing by giving those workers the opportunity to know who their employer is working with and how much money is being spent to persuade them to reject unionization.
Last November in response to a lawsuit by business and trade groups, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas issued a nationwide permanent injunction on the current rule. Opponents also said enforcing the rule would be expensive and difficult to interpret.
The formal DOL proposal published in today's Federal Register opens up the rule for public comments - pro or con - for the next 60 days with an eye to eventually kill the rule entirely.
To read the DOL's proposal in the Federal Register and get information on how to forward your comments, click here: