Group urges Congress to dump 'unfair' union persuader rule

The persuader rule especially hurts small- and medium-sized businesses, Byrne says
The persuader rule especially hurts small- and medium-sized businesses, Byrne says

A recently passed labor rule aimed at making employers' disclose their use of anti-union “persuaders” is “unfair and unlawful” and should be nullified, a leading labor coalition said this week.

In a letter sent Tuesday to Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL), sponsor of a resolution to withdraw the Department of Labor's final rule, the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace bashed the rule as having “no benefit to employees” and being “designed to silence employers.” 

The DOL's final rule, released in late March, requires employers to disclose any relationships they have with labor consultants they use to dissuade employees from unionizing, known as “persuaders.” Employees must also be notified when employers develop plans for supervisors to persuade workers, create anti-union materials and lead seminars against forming unions or collective bargaining.

The rule, which is slated to apply to agreements made after July 1, closes a loophole to a 1959 law which allowed exemptions for labor consultants who advised employers but never interacted with employees directly. Closing that loophole leaves the law with “an incredibly vague standard,” the coalition said in the letter.

“The changes provide no benefit to employees but will make it very difficult for attorneys to maintain client confidentiality and small businesses to obtain confidential and critical legal counsel on labor relations matters,” the letter reads. “The rule is designed to silence employers. It is unfair and unlawful and should be withdrawn.”

The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace is comprised of more than 600 employers and labor-focused organizations, and counts the American Health Care Association, Argentum, LeadingAge Colorado and the American Hospital Association as members. Only Argentum and the American Hospital Association appear as signers on the coalition's letter in support of Byrne's measure.

In a press release Byrne said his resolution, H.J. Res. 87, would protect employers from “a rule that would restrict privacy, upend the attorney-client relationship, and limit employee access to information during an organizing campaign.”

“No one would be hurt more by the persuader rule than small- to medium-sized businesses,
Byrne said.

The measure was introduced to the House and assigned to the House Education and the Workforce on April 15.