Senators introduce second resolution to kill DOL 'persuader' rule

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Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN)

Additional lawmakers are taking steps to quash a controversial Department of Labor rule that requires employers to report any relations they have with anti-union “persuaders.”

Sens. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) introduced a resolution on Friday that would permanently stop the rule from being implemented, saying it's “overtly biased” and hurts small businesses with “costly and onerous mandates.” Providers have already sided with a similar measure introduced in the House.

The DOL rule, finalized in late March, requires employers to disclose their relationships with labor consultants hired to dissuade employees from unionizing. This would include developing plans for supervisors to persuade workers, creating anti-union materials and leading seminars against forming unions or collective bargaining.

“The administration fast-tracked the union election process so that employers are now walking a tightrope of legal obligations and prohibitions at hyperspeed — and now the administration wants to discourage employers from getting any legal advice while they try to do this,” Alexander said in a statement. “The real loser will be the worker, who will be ambushed by a union election right as his or her employer is hamstrung by this rule — and the union will steamroll right over both of them.”

The rule also infringes on the right to free speech, Flake and Alexander argue, and places a huge financial burden on small businesses. The measure is estimated to cost between $7.5 billion and $10.6 billion in compliance costs in its first year alone, and $60 billion over a 10-year period.

A similar resolution was introduced by House Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL) in April and quickly garnered support from the Coalition for a Democratic workplace, a group of more than 600 employers that counts the American Health Care Association, Argentum, LeadingAge Colorado and the American Hospital Association as members.

Byrne's resolution was approved by a House committee in late May and will go to the full House for consideration. Flake and Alexander's resolution was assigned to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee.