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WASHINGTON, D.C., March 23 – Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) today issued the following statement in response to the release of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) final “persuader rule.” The rule will greatly limit the ability of employers, particularly small businesses, to obtain advice from labor relations experts, and in turn deprive employees of their right to obtain balanced information about union representation.

“Associated Builders and Contractors is disappointed with the Department of Labor’s final persuader rule, which will improperly narrow the longstanding ‘advice’ exemption used by employers,” said ABC Vice President of Legislative and Political Affairs Kristen Swearingen. “In narrowing this exemption, DOL is greatly limiting businesses’ ability to obtain labor relations advice from attorneys, consultants and trade associations, including ABC, which will have a particularly onerous impact on any business without in-house counsel.

“No employer should have to wade through the final rule’s 446 pages to figure out whether they can safely get advice on what they can say to their employees,” said Swearingen. “The final rule is clearly an attempt by DOL to restrict employers from communicating the potential pros and cons of unionization with their employees and, along with the flawed ‘ambush election rule,’ is the administration’s attempt to achieve the goals of its failed ‘card check’ proposal by regulation. ABC is committed to fighting this burdensome, costly and poorly crafted rule through every available avenue.”

ABC has opposed the persuader rule since it was first proposed in 2011 and has expressed its concerns through:

  • Comments submitted to DOL in September 2011
  • A letter sent to DOL in February 2014
  • A December 2015 letter to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) from a coalition of business groups including 29 ABC chapters
  • A January 13, 2016 meeting with OIRA officials