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July 23, 2018

Cumbersome Labor Rule Thrown Out

On Tuesday, July 17 the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced plans to fully repeal the Obama Administration’s March 2016 persuader rule. The rescission, which was formally published in the Federal Registeron July 18, will take effect 30 days after publication.

The Metals Service Center Institute worked with the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW) to end this regulation, which had changed federal disclosure rules to make it more difficult for employers to access legal counsel or other expert advice on labor and employee relations issues, thereby interfering with an employer’s ability to engage in positive, good-faith employee communications about the pros and cons of unionization.

In March 2016, CDW joined seven other plaintiffs in filing a petition in federal court in Arkansas challenging the regulation, and the rule was eventually permanently enjoined by a federal judge in Texas later that year. The Obama Administration appealed the decision to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, but the litigation was delayed numerous times under the Trump administration. Then, on June 12, 2017, DOL issued a new Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) proposing to get rid of the rule entirely. The CDW filed comments on the NPRM supporting the full withdrawal of the rule.

As Connecting the Dots previously reported, Democrats in Congress have introduced two pieces of legislation that would codify the persuader rule: the Workforce Democracy Act and the Workers’ Freedom to Negotiate Act. The CDW and MSCI oppose these bills – click here to learn more about its efforts.