The Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) has published the long-awaited “persuader rule,” Interpretation of the ‘Advice’ Exemption in Section 203(c) of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act. First proposed in June 2011, the persuader rule requires that employers disclose the hiring of a third-party labor relations attorney or other consultant to try to prevent its employees’ unionization attempts. This disclosure obligation arises if the consultant engages in persuader activities that go beyond the plain meaning of advice. Significantly, the newly published rule requires disclosure even if the consultant has no direct contact with workers. For more details, view our client briefing DOL Issues Final Persuader Rule. Meanwhile, according to data released by the Board the filing of election petitions slowed slightly in the past 11 months, with no significant change in the outcomes of cases in which the NLRB certified election wins or losses.  

An NLRB associate general counsel, Anne Purcell, who oversees the agency’s division of operations management, issued a memo to Regional Directors and other personnel acknowledging that the agency is facing a budget shortfall the rest of the fiscal year and suggesting various cost cutting measures, including working toward early settlements in unfair labor practice and election disputes.

The NLRB confirmed that its Regional Director in Philadelphia, Dennis Walsh, who has faced criticism for his ties to the pro-union Peggy Browning Fund, was suspended without pay for 30 days at the end of December. The NLRB spokesperson declined to comment on the circumstances that led to the agency’s action.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R.) signed legislation, 2015 Wisconsin Act 203, that would bar a franchiser from being considered as an “employer” of a franchisee’s employees for the purposes of state law. The law undercuts the NLRB decision in Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc., in which the NLRB expanded the standard for joint liability under the NLRA.  

The Missouri House of Representatives passed a bill that would prevent public unions from withholding union dues, shop fees, or other fees from members without annual written authorization. The bill, HB 1891, passed the state Senate and is headed to the desk of Governor Jay Nixon (D.), who has declined to comment on whether he will veto, although he has vetoed similar legislation in the past.  

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) for president. The ILWU is the fifth national union to endorse Sanders, following National Nurses United, the Communications Workers of America, the American Postal Workers Union, and the Amalgamated Transit Union.     Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has garnered endorsements from a slew of other unions, including the IAM, the UFCW, the SEIU, the United Farm Workers, and the OPEIU.