The U.S. Department of Labor issued a new rule today requiring employers to disclose when they hire or seek advice from consultants on fighting union organizing campaigns.
The rule closes a loophole in the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act that allowed employers to avoid disclosing such partnerships. The consultants could anonymously provide guidance in creating anti-union materials, strategies and policies, as long as they did not directly contact employees.
The new rule requires reporting on “actions, conduct or communications that are undertaken with an object, explicitly or implicitly, directly or indirectly, to affect an employee’s decisions regarding his or her representation or collective bargaining rights.”
Unions are already required to disclose expenditures for their organizing campaigns.
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) lambasted the persuader rule as an “unwarranted action” that “will further restrict employers’ ability to educate and inform employees.” NAM called it the latest in a series of "drastic" and "overreaching" tweaks "that will fundamentally upend the manufacturing workplace."
The Teamsters Union praised the new rule. “For years, big business has taken advantage of the nation’s broken system,” Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa said on the organization’s website. “They’ve paid millions to consultants and law firms to do the dirty work of union-busting and intimidating employees. In exchange, these same companies publicly could wash their hands of the whole thing."