GOP moves to block union 'persuader' rule

GOP moves to block union 'persuader' rule
© Getty Images

A key House panel voted Wednesday to rollback yet another controversial Obama administration labor regulation.

The House Education and Workforce Committee in a 22-13 party-line vote approved Republican legislation that would block the Labor Department's so-called persuader rule.

The measure now heads to the full House.


The rule requires companies to disclose conversations they have with their legal advisers about strategies for blocking their workers from unionizing.

The Obama administration believes workers deserve to know more about who companies hire to influence their decisions about unionizing and how much they are spending. But Republicans say those conversations should be protected by attorney-client privilege.

"The latest scheme concocted by the Labor Department is the persuader rule,” Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.) said at the five-hour, marathon hearing. "This new rule abandons nearly 60 years of subtle labor polices by forcing employers to disclose virtually any contact with outside legal advisers on union-related matters.

Kline warned the rule would "chill the right of employers to seek legal council, and in the process chill the right to speak to employees on union matters."

But Rep. Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottProposed Virginia maps put rising-star House Democrats at risk Industry, labor groups at odds over financial penalties in spending package Historically Black colleges and universities could see historic funding under Biden plan MORE (D-Va.) said the rule would “pull back the curtain” on companies that are looking to block unions from organizing.

"Some opponents argue that the workers have a right to hear both sides of the debate. I agree,” Scott said. "But, as they hear both sides, workers deserve to know whether or not what they are hearing is a product of certain, well-known consultants hired to influence their decisions and how much their employers are paying them to influence their views.” 

Republicans are turning to the Congressional Review Act to overturn the persuader rule. This allows lawmakers to disapprove of regulations from the Obama administration with a simple majority vote. It is likely to pass in both the Senate and House, but Republicans may not have enough power to overcome an almost-certain veto from President Obama.