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In its regulatory agenda released Nov. 27, the Department of Labor (DOL) listed a date of March 2014 to release its “persuader” final rule, which severely narrows long-standing reporting exemptions for employers and labor relations experts and redefines “advice.”  

 If the rule is finalized, it will greatly expand the circumstances in which third party advice, which employers use to educate their employees about collective bargaining, would have to be reported by both the employer and the third party. Third parties include attorneys and association staff. As the proposal is currently written, the disclosure requirements also include money paid for these services. 

ABC opposes the rule because it would deprive employers of their right to free speech, freedom of association, and legal counsel, and would deprive employees of their right to obtain balanced and informed input from both sides as they decide whether to be represented by a union. 

The persuader rule is designed to work hand-in-glove with the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) sole issue included on their regulatory agenda issued Nov. 26, which would shorten the amount of time between when a union files a representation petition and an election takes place. 

In December 2011 , the NLRB issued the “ambush” election rule which would have reduced the amount of time between when a union files a representation petition and an election takes place, from the current average of around 40 days to as few as 17 to 20 days. The ABC-led Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW), in conjunction with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, filed the legal challenge against the rule. In May 2012, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia overturned the rule because it was adopted without the statutorily required quorum of NLRB members. The NLRB appealed the ruling; however, the court issued an order of abeyance on the appeal , suspending consideration of the appeal “pending further order of the court.” 

With the NLRB now fully staffed, the board could move forward with re-issuing the rule. Newly confirmed board member Kent Hirozawa recently confirmed “that the NLRB continues to consider changes to its regulations on representation case procedures.” 
ABC will continue to monitor both these rulemakings and alert members of any developments through Newsline.