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New U.S. DOL Rule: The Public Will Finally Have The Right To Know How Much A Company Is Spending To Thwart Union Organizing


Anti-union consultants make their living convincing workers not to join together to improve their working conditions. Despite the known advantage of working union (union workers make, on average, at least $4 more an hour than non-union workers and far more in certain industries), with their mix of carrots and sticks, these sophisticated union-busters can effectively turn a hot shop cold with captive audience meetings and anti-union propaganda.

The more time anti-union consultants have with workers, the more likely workers will vote against unionization. Employers fought the new faster election process the NLRB adopted in April of 2015 in part because these consultants will now have less time to discourage and mislead workers. The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) estimates that 71 to 87 percent of employers hire such consultants to oppose organizing campaigns.

The new DOL “persuader” rule continues to require disclosure of direct contact or communication with any employee when the objective is to persuade the employee regarding unionization. Now, under the new rule, a company consultant who does not make direct contact with workers but nonetheless assists with the planning, directing, or coordinating of management’s anti-union campaign, must be reported to the DOL. These activities include advice about captive audience meetings or the development of anti-union propaganda to be distributed to workers.

The consultant who provides the persuader services must report the service on Form LM-20 and LM-21. Employers must report the consultant services on Form LM-10 within 90 days of the end of the employer’s fiscal year.

The U.S. DOL final rule applies “to arrangements and agreements as well as payments (including reimbursed expenses) made on or after July 1, 2016.” The new rule applies to labor relations governed by both the National Labor Relations Act and the Railway Labor Act.

Power business interests effectively delayed the issuance of the new rule by nearly five (5) years in order to shield how much money they actually spend on union-busting activities. Under the new rule, workers, shareholders, and the public will be able to see how far employers are willing to go to keep their workers from joining together to improve their working conditions.