Proposed Rule to Change Reporting of Advice about Union Organizing

As was mentioned briefly in last Wednesday’s Hot Topics Alert, the U.S. Department of Labor has announced a proposed rule to revise the interpretation of “advice” as it pertains to reporting requirements for persuader activity under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act.

Under the proposal, an employer would have to report any case where a consultant engages in persuader activities that go beyond the plain meaning of “advice.” Reportable persuader activities would include those in which a consultant engages in any actions, conduct, or communications on behalf of an employer that would directly or indirectly persuade workers concerning their rights to organize and bargain collectively, regardless of whether or not the consultant has direct contact with workers.
Employers would also have to report any case in which a consultant engages in specific persuader actions, conduct, or communications regardless of whether advice is given, such as when a consultant plans or orchestrates a campaign or program to avoid or counter a union organizing or collective bargaining effort.
The practical effect of the rule will be to force employers to choose between forgoing assistance during a union organizing campaign (which benefits the union’s chances of winning) or disclosing the employer’s arrangements with the consultant/attorney (which provides a source of material for the union’s campaign).
MSEC will follow the progress of this proposed rule and provide further details as they develop.