Persuader Rule - Persuader Agreements: Employer and Labor Consultant Reporting Under the LMRDA Interpretation of the “Advice” Exemption in Section 203(c) of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act
The Office of Labor-Management Standards of the Department of Labor (“Department”) is revising the Form LM-20 Agreement and Activities Report and the Form LM-10 Employer Report upon review of the comments received in response to its June 21, 2011 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). In the NPRM, the Department proposed to revise its interpretation of the advice exemption in section 203(c) of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) to better effectuate section 203's requirement that employers and their labor relations consultants report activities undertaken with an object, directly or indirectly, to persuade employees about how to exercise their rights to union representation and collective bargaining. Under the prior interpretation, reporting was effectively triggered only when a consultant communicated directly with employees. This interpretation left a broad category of persuader activities unreported, thereby denying employees important information that would enable them to consider the source of the information about union representation directed at them when assessing the merits of the arguments and deciding how to exercise their rights. The Department proposed to eliminate this reporting gap. The final rule adopts the proposed rule, with modifications, and provides increased transparency to workers without imposing any restraints on the content, timing, or method by which an employer chooses to make known to its employees its position on matters relating to union representation or collective bargaining. The final rule also maintains the LMRDA's section 203(c) advice exemption and the traditional privileges and disclosure requirements associated with the attorney-client relationship. The Department has also revised the forms and instructions to make them more user-friendly and to require more detailed reporting on employer and consultant agreements. Sections of the Department's regulations have also been amended consistent with the instructions. Additionally, with this rule, the Department requires that Forms LM-10 and LM-20 be filed electronically. This rule largely implements the Department's proposal in the NPRM, with modifications of several aspects of the revised instructions as proposed.