ABC In The News

For Immediate Release…

press release

July 17, 2018

Persuader Rule Update

WASHINGTON D.C.  – Today, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a final rule to rescind the 2016 persuader rule, officially named the “Interpretation of the ‘Advice’ Exemption in Section 203(c) of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act.” In its press release, DOL explained, “by rescinding this rule, the department stands up for the rights of Americans to ask a question of their attorney without mandated disclosure to the government.”

Had it gone into effect, the 2016 final rule would have significantly broadened the reporting requirements for employers, attorneys, trade associations and other third-party advisors under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act by redefining what is meant by labor relations “advice.” It also would have greatly limited the ability of employers, particularly small businesses, to obtain advice from labor relations experts, and in turn deprived employees of their right to obtain balanced information about union representation.

ABC applauds the Trump administration for following through on its promise to rescind the persuader rule. Read ABC’s press release here.

The final rule rescinding the Obama rule will be officially published in the federal register tomorrow and will go into effect 30 days from tomorrow (Aug. 16, 2018). However, the Obama-era DOL persuader rule is effectively dead anyways because of a successful permanent injunction blocking the final rule issued by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

Please note, the pre-Obama era rules related to reporting persuader activity remain in effect. That means that if you speak directly with ABC member employees about covered union issues, you may have to register as a persuader. Please contact your local labor attorney to learn about your filing and disclosure responsibilities in the unlikely event you are engaged in this type of conduct.

Background

On March 24, 2016, the Obama DOL issued the final persuader rule. Six days later, on March 30, ABC and a coalition of stakeholders filed a lawsuit challenging the rule in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas.

On Nov. 16, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas issued a permanent injunction blocking the final rule.

On June 12, 2017, the Trump DOL issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to rescind the 2016 final rule. ABC submitted comments in support of the proposal.

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

  • Comments submitted to DOL in September 2011;
  • letter sent to DOL in February 2014;
  • December 2015 letter to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs from a coalition of business groups including 29 ABC chapters;
  • A January 2016 meeting with OIRA officials;
  • A lawsuit filed in March 2016; and
  • Comments submitted to DOL in August 2017.

A BIG THANK YOU ABC general counsel Maury Baskin, ABC’s government affairs and public affairs teams, the CLRF, ABC chapters and ABC members for their sustained fight against the persuader rule since 2011. This is a big victory.

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