DOL releases final rule requiring employers to disclose anti-union activity

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Employers will be required to report any anti-union and collective bargaining activity to employees under the final version of a “persuader” rule issued by the Department of Labor on Thursday.

The rule will require employers to disclose any relationships they have with labor consultants they hire to dissuade employees from unionizing, including developing plans for supervisors to persuade workers, creating anti-union materials and leading seminars against forming unions or collective bargaining.

“In many organizing campaigns, decisions that workers make about whether to choose to stand together are often influenced by paid consultants, or persuaders, who are hired by employers to craft the management message being delivered to workers,” Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said during a press call on Wednesday. “About 75% of employers hire such persuaders, and too often, workers do not know.”

The rule, which is set to apply to agreements made after July 1, is based on a 1959 law which requires employers to report if they hire labor consultants. However, an “enormous loophole” has allowed exemptions for consultants who advised employers without interacting with employees directly, the New York Times reported.

In a statement released Wednesday, the American Hospital Association and its American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration expressed disappointment in the final rule.

“The significant ambiguities and burdens created by the new reporting standards may discourage many from seeking or providing the expertise that is critical and necessary to help hospitals and other employers follow the law,” said Tom Nickels, AHA executive vice president.

The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, an alliance of industry groups that opposes the National Labor Relations Board, bashed the rule, saying it “ignores the thousands of comments submitted by small business and other stakeholders” and goes “way beyond the original intent of the law.” The CDW is currently considering challenging the rule in court, according to the AHA.