On March 23, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released a final rule that will drastically redefine “persuader” activity under Section 203 of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA). The final rule is scheduled to take effect on April 25, 2016 and applies to arrangements, agreements, and payments made on or after July 1, 2016. The final persuader rule is likely to be challenged in Congress and the courts.
Current Persuader Rule:
Currently, persuader activity is defined as services provided by third parties (known as persuaders) hired by employers to communicate directly to employees about their rights to organize. Employers and so-called “persuaders” are obligated to file public financial reports with the DOL. However, under Section 203(c) of the LMRDA, also known as the “advice” exemption, attorneys, trade associations and other third-party advisors are exempt from the reporting requirements when they offer advice on union organizing campaigns or collective bargaining to an employer without engaging in direct contact with its employees. The employers that utilize these protected services are also exempt.
Changes Under the Final Rule:
The final rule will significantly broaden the reporting requirements for employers, attorneys, trade associations and other third-party advisors by redefining what is meant by labor relations “advice.” DOL has made some changes from its proposed rule. ABC National staff and ABC’s general counsel, Maury Baskin are now studying the final rule’s 446 pages and additional details will follow for ABC members.
ABC National is developing a compliance plan for ABC members that will be forthcoming and Maury Baskin will be holding a webinar on the final persuader rule in April. ABC National will continue to keep ABC members informed of any developments.