The Labor Department’s so-called persuader rule is running into resistance on Capitol Hill.
The persuader rule requires companies to disclose information about their behind-the-scenes efforts to stop unions from organizing their workforces.
"Let’s get down to what’s really going on here,” Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.) said Wednesday during a hearing. “Unions don’t want employers talking to their employees about this.”
Unions “sell what they think are the good parts of what they do, and they never tell the employees the other side of the story,” Bradley said. “They never tell employees they can take them on strike without their permission. They never tell them their dues can increase without a vote. They never tell them when there has been a history of violence or criminal activity inside the union.”
“If the union’s not going to say that, it’s got to be the employer,” he added.
The Labor Department finalized the persuader rule last month in an effort to bring transparency to the union organizing process. Under the rule, companies must reveal how much they are paying anti-union consultants and the scope of their activities on behalf of the employer.
Democrats say the persuader rule will bring “union busters” out of the shadows.
"Clearly, there is a very big business in union busting,” said Rep. Mark PocanMark William PocanDemocrats livid over GOP's COVID-19 attacks on Biden With Build Back Better, Dems aim to correct messaging missteps Dems brace for score on massive Biden bill MORE (D-Wis.).
These anti-union consultants “operate in the shadows,” helping employers script their talking points with workers, explained Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.).
“Working men and women deserve to know who their employer is hiring and how much they are spending to discourage them from forming a union,” Polis said.
But Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) said the persuader rule could “chill employer free speech” and “undermine their ability to communicate with workers during union organizing campaigns.”
“This is an attack on the fundamental right of employers to seek legal advice,” Roe said.
"Many employers, acting in good faith, seek outside advice to ensure they’re in compliance with the law when communicating with their employees about union elections,” he added.
Roe expressed concerns that the fiduciary rule could have broader legal ramifications for courts.
"If we start down this slippery slope, where are we going to end, if we dissolve attorney-client privilege?” he asked.