The Persuader Rule is Here
Paul Revere is famous for his ride through the night and crying out — “The British are coming! The British are coming!” Chicken Little is famous (and fictional) for running around screaming – “The sky is falling! The Sky is falling!”
For the past five years, on and off – labor relations professionals have been hearing someone write “The Persuader Rules are coming! The Persuader Rules are coming!”
That has finally come to an end. The Department of Labor announced this morning that the Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) will publish on March 24, 2016 a final rule revising two public disclosure reporting forms, the Form LM-10 (employer report) and the Form LM-20 (agreement and activities report). You can get that full notice here and read some additional information from the DOL here, including a rather remarkable quote.
Under the final rule, an employer-consultant agreement is reportable if a consultant engages in “persuader activities.” These are defined as any 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. Under the typical reportable agreement or arrangement, a consultant agrees to manage a campaign or program to avoid or counter a union organizing or collective bargaining effort, either jointly with the employer or separately. Under the Department’s previous interpretation of section 203(c) of the LMRDA, the employer and consultant would have to file a report only if the consultant communicated directly to the workers. The final rule requires that both direct and indirect activities must be reported.
The final rule also requires consultants to file reports when they hold union avoidance seminars for employers, but does not require employers to report simple attendance at these seminars.[emphasis added]
The Sky is Not Falling
It’s going to be complicated. It’s going to be litigated. It’s going to be a pain for employers to deal with.
It’s also important to keep things in perspective. Paul Revere was right, but Chicken Little was wrong. The sky is not falling.
These rules are NOT the end of the world as we know it. Employers are still going to work with their employees to build great workplace relationships. You will still need to train your supervisors and update your handbooks. Life as we know it will go on.
It’s just a new reporting requirement that you need to prepare and plan for. We just ran a webinar from Phil Wilson and Doug Seaton last week previewing what you need to know right now to get ready for this new rule. Here’s how to get it if you missed it.
Log into the CUE website.
Click on “Resources” in the upper right hand corner
At the top of the page, you should see the following where you can download slides and the webinar recording after you click on the link: Webinar – “CUE Members: Preparing for the Persuader Rules” – March 2016.
You can also get the full Final Rule document here.