Federal Judge Sam Cummings, of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas Lubbock Division, put a temporary hold on the Department of Labor's 'persuader rule' yesterday.
The case National Federation of Independent Business et al. V. Perez et. al. was brought regarding the DOL's Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) earlier this year, after having been first proposed in June 2011.
The so-called "persuader rule" requires public disclosure and reporting by employers and third-party advisors (including third-party labor relations attorneys or other consultants) of agreements or arrangements involving activities that may "persuade" employees concerning unionization and collective bargaining activities. Employers and consultants have long been required to disclose "direct persuasion" activities (i.e., those involving direct contact or communication with employees in an attempt to persuade them). The new rule significantly expanded these reporting obligations, however, and would have also required disclosure of a wide-range of "indirect persuasion" activities.
In a 90-page opinion and order issued on June 27, Judge Cummings determined the DOL exceeded its authority in passing the new rule. The court's order prohibits the Labor Department from implementing the rule, due to go into effect on July 1, which would have required lawyers and consultants to report to the DOL when counseling employers concerning union organizing and force employers to report any "actions, conduct or communications" undertaken to "affect an employee's decisions regarding his or her representation or collective bargaining rights,” until the case is settled by the courts.
Cummings said a nationwide injunction is appropriate. Finding that the DOL would suffer no harm from delaying implementation, he ordered the DOL enjoined from implementing the rule until the matter is settled by the courts.